The Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF) on Wednesday called for peaceful and credible governorship election in Bayelsa state on November 11, 2023.
The call was made in a statement by Chairman of IEF, Chief Bukazi Etete, on behalf of a coalition of Ijaw centred organisations.
“The Coalition of Ijaw Interest Groups would like to draw the attention of all political stakeholders and the good people of Bayelsa to maintain the peace and conduct ourselves properly, sensibly, reasonably and with civility during the elections.
“We are particularly disturbed by the recent politically motivated killings in certain parts of the state.
“This is not in our character as Bayelsans. We, therefore, strongly condemn these acts of politically motivated violence in our state and urge all politicians to desist from sponsoring any act that will threaten the peace before, on or during the election,” the IEF stated.
The group urged the youths to avoid allowing themselves to be used as tools to kill one another for the interest of evil politicians.
IEF noted that elections should not be a matter of do-or- die in our state.
“We must show political maturity by playing the game according to the rules. Candidates should promote their candidacy by campaigning and marketing their programs to the voting populace.
“They should shun all forms of violence in their message and conduct. The citizens should be allowed to perform their civic responsibilities without intimidation and any form of inducement.
“All candidates are advised to reign in their supporters that are susceptible to violence. Bayelsa state should not be turned to a battlefield or theatre of war because of election,” the statement read in part.
The IEF urged the political class to draw inspiration from the mantra of l elder statesman, Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, that the ambition of any politician is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
The elders stated that political protagonists should engage in issue-based campaigns and not violence.
“Voters are advised to be circumspect in making their choice to ensure that the best candidate that will promote good governance, accountability, progress and economic well-being of the people is voted into office.
“Don’t sell your votes; doing so will amount to selling your future. Bayelsans should use the opportunity of electing a governor to choose a leader with character, competence, conscience, and capacity, courage, credibility and accountability,” the elders said.
The coalition also called on INEC, the security agencies and parties involved in the conduct of the elections to be impartial, fair to all, firm and defend the tenets of democracy in the conduct of the election.