Five of the 21 governorship aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming Bayelsa State governorship election have subscribed to a violence-free poll.
This was contained in a communique issued after a one-day stakeholders’ conference on peaceful and credible governorship election and good governance in Bayelsa.
It was organised by the Ijaw Elders’ Forum, Lagos, in conjunction with Ijaw Professionals Association, Embassara Foundation, Ijaw Women Connect and Ijaw Nation Forum.
The PDP aspirants included Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (retd.), the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Anthony George-Ikoli; Godknows Igali, Erepamo Osaisai and the Secretary to the State Government, Kemela Okara.
A governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Diseye Nsirim-Poweigha, also committed himself to peaceful governorship electoral process in the state.
The event was a follow-up to the first edition of the stakeholders’ conference held on May 22, 2019 in Yenagoa during which the Ijaw Charter and Ijaw Nation Code of Ethics, Leadership and Governance, were formally inaugurated.
The communique, which was signed by Efiye Bribena and Denzil Kentebe on behalf of the Ijaw groups, stressed the importance of aspirants and eventual candidates of parties to ensure non-violence governorship polls in Bayelsa.
“The focus of the deliberations was on electoral violence perpetrated in various forms.
“Electoral violence was roundly decried by the stakeholders. Furthermore, deliberations centered on an exploratory basis of possible future sanctions on those who perpetrate electoral violence,” the communiqué stated.
It quoted the keynote speaker and a former Commissioner for Information in Rivers State, Dr. Austin Tam-George, as saying in his paper titled, ‘Electoral Violence and the Superstitions of Power,’ that any leader seeking to serve, should not martial weapons of violence to the citizenry.
He argued that leaders resort to violence because they held the people in contempt.
Tam-George also posited that such leaders had no confidence in the electoral process, perpetrate culture of impunity, and also lack vision and a compelling message.
Among those who were at the sessions were Deputy Governor Gboribiogha Jonah; monarch of Ekpetiama Kingdom and chairman on the occasion, King Bubraye Dakolo; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ijaw Professionals Association, Gen. Paul Toun (retd.) and Austin Tam-George.