Clark urges Bayelsans to eschew violence
The national leader and Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, has urged the people of Bayelsa State to eschew violence and vote peacefully in today’s governorship election.
In a statement yesterday night, the PANDEF leader said: “I am appealing to the people of Bayelsa State to shun every act of violence. They should go out and vote peacefully, according to their conscience, without been coerced or intimidated.
“We don’t want violence. Election is not war; it is not a matter of life or death. The present tension and killings in the state is not in the interest of the Ijaw people. Bayelsa is a miniature nation of all the Ijaw.
“Bayelsa State does not belong to any individual, so people should not behave as if the state is their personal property and nobody should act as if whatever he or she says is final. Politicians and their supporters should not destabilise the state for their own political benefits. PANDEF is suing for peace.
“We cannot be killing our people because of the personal interest of individuals. Ijaw people are the same; we are one, and Ijaw people have always been very democratic and republican in their attitude. For instance, the late Harold Dappa-Biriye and his father contested the election and the son won. It did not stop them from being father and son.”
He noted that the unfolding events in the state were appalling, but expressed happiness that the election would hold, imploring all the leaders of the political parties in the contest to understand that the state comes before every other person and they should know that without Bayelsa State, they won’t exist, and as such, they should consider the interest of Bayelsa first before their personal interests.
Clark called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remain unbiased in the conduct of the election, just as he urged the security agencies to demonstrate professionalism and detachment in the discharge of their duties before, during and after the election.
He warned that what happened in the 2015 governorship election and this year’s presidential elections should not be allowed to rear its ugly head, especially where people were killed, elections held in some places and elections postponed in some places due to crisis and violence.
“If the election is held, democracy should be seen to be prevailing. We want a peaceful, free, fair and credible election. Results announced must be a true reflection of the votes of the people of Bayelsa State,” he counselled.