By Unclejerry • 24th Jan 2019 • 56 views • 8 comments

As the 2019 general elections draw closer, stakeholders in Bayelsa State have advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to rely on political parties and politicians in the state for logistics if the commission wants to conduct credible polls.

They insisted at a town hall meeting in Yenagoa on ‘Citizens Education Project For Credible and Peaceful Elections in Bayelsa State’ that the INEC must provide the means of transportation to convey its election officials and materials to the 105 wards in the state.

About 85 percent of Bayelsa is situated on water and movement to most parts of the state is by boat and other watercrafts.

The interactive forum was organised by the Mac-Jim Foundation with funding from the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room to address issues of awareness, electoral violence and reforms towards this year’s elections in the country.

Participants at the town hall meeting variously described electoral violence as “any violence that takes place during elections; anything that causes emergency and disruptions during elections; any unpleasant actions that take place before, during and after elections as well as intimidation, physical assaults and insults, among others.”

They recalled that violence broke out in nearly all parts of Bayelsa during the 2015 general elections, stressing that some candidates may also use political thugs to unleash violence in the 2019 polls and called on security agencies to be at alert.

The stakeholders, who were drawn from the three senatorial districts of the state, also called on INEC to “set up a team in collaboration with security officials to monitor the trend of political behaviours capable of causing violence in communities” during the elections.

Speaking at the forum, Alagoa Morris, a rights activist and head of the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN) office in Bayelsa, noted that “some government officials also exacerbate political violence.”

“The highest form of political violence is the disruption of court proceedings by an opponent in broad day light in a court of law without being arrested after the incident”

In his remarks, Godson Jim-Dorgu, Executive Director, Mac-Jim Foundation, explained that the Bayelsa political environment also contributed to political violence “because arms are common among youths and political contestants who are violent”.

He, however, enjoined the participants to take the message of peaceful and credible elections to their neighbourhoods and communities to ensure a violence-free 2019 polls in Bayelsa.


8 Replies | Last update 24th Jan 2019 | Last comment

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