Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, has urged international bodies to prevail on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security forces to be neutral in Nov. 16 Governorship election.
Dickson was quoted by Mr Daniel Alabrah, his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, as making the call while receiving the Deputy Chief of U.S Missions in Nigeria, Kathleen Fitzgibbon, on Thursday in Yenagoa.
The governor thanked U.S and friends of Nigeria for their interest in the conduct of elections in the country, especially the electoral process, which he said, was more important than the outcome.
He urged the international community to pay special attention to the state and not limit their scope to Lagos and Abuja.
“I know there are some challenges, and this is one state that has challenges during elections.
“Challenges of how to restrain youths, of power, of how to support the institutions and agencies of state, whose neutrality should be as clear as anything else.
“Killings and all kinds of things take place in the name of elections, but we know the importance of your visit.
“We call on your mission to show more support to the agencies of state, INEC, the law enforcement agencies and to keep making the point about the need for neutrality.
“We also urge your mission to use its very wonderful network and access to raise these concerns.
“I look forward to working with you and your team in the area of information sharing.
“In the area of letting people know when we see the red flags, very often, those red flags are ignored, and the red flags are all there. Your interest is legitimate to me,” Dickson said.
The governor also appealed to the mission to dialogue with the opposition parties in the state to propagate a violence-free governorship election.
He said that the poll was about his successor and the legacies.
Dickson called for understanding and partnership in peace building and development.
He said his administration had succeeded in stabilising the state through targeted investment in critical sectors.
According to him, the sectors include: education, health, infrastructure and human capacity development, among others.
Earlier, Fitzgibbon said that the delegation was in the state to ascertain the challenges that could hinder the conduct of the upcoming governorship election in the state.
Fitzgibbon assured that the mission was focussed on engaging the Federal Government, international community and other critical stakeholders to ensure peaceful, credible, fair and hitch-free election in the state.
The Deputy Chief of Missions, who said she visited Bayelsa last 19 years ago, however, commended Dickson for his developmental strides, which she said had hugely transformed the landscape of the state.