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Diri, Okowa back BVAS, constitutional role for monarchs

By Guardian Nigeria
19 January 2023   |   3:55 am
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, have restated their support for the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) into the Nigerian electoral system.

Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo (left); Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa; Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri; Amanyanabo of Nembe and Chairman, South-South Monarchs Forum, Edmund Daukoru and Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, Bubaraye Dakolo, during the South-South Monarchs Forum General Assembly in Yenagoa… yesterday.

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, have restated their support for the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) into the Nigerian electoral system.

This is contained in a statement by Daniel Alabrah, the Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor.

They also canvassed constitutionally defined roles for traditional rulers to ensure peace in the country.

The governors spoke in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday, during the South South Monarchs Forum Extraordinary General Assembly with the theme: “Entrenching Grassroots Security and Peace in the South-South Region during and after 2023 General Election.”

Diri said the importance of BVAS could not be over-emphasised as it would go a long way in reducing electoral fraud.

He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his insistence on free and fair elections, saying the country is relying on him to match words with action and deliver a credible 2023 general election.

While advocating constitutional role for monarchs as custodians of culture, the Bayelsa helmsman cautioned politicians against the use of youths for violence and called on all hands to be on deck to ensure violence-free election.

On his part, Okowa, who is also the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said it is crucial for all stakeholders to find ways to ensure peaceful elections.

Okowa stated that traditional rulers play a very important role as custodians of culture and needed to be empowered to play more active roles in ensuring peace in the country.

Okowa also hailed the introduction of BVAS and wondered why some persons and political parties were against a technology that will promote credible elections and improve the image of Nigeria even in the international community.

His said: “I thank our royal fathers for inviting governors of the South-South and their counterparts from South-East. The topic is wonderful because it is best to find ways to stop electoral violence to help us prepare the ground for a peaceful election.”

Earlier, Chairman, South South Monarchs Forum and Amanyanabo of Nembe, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, said the aim of the organisers of the meeting is to achieve peaceful elections in the country.

Describing Diri as a man of peace, he called on government and the people to take matters of security more seriously before, during and after elections.

Chairman, Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chairman of the planning committee, King Bubaraye Dakolo, said the South-South people would support peaceful election.

In attendance at the event were the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, represented by his Deputy, Philip Shuaibu; Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo; former Governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna, security chiefs, representative of INEC and monarchs from South-South and South-East.