Thursday, December 3, 2015 6:01 pm
Since July 2015 when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the time table for the gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa State and fixed the election for December 5, 2015, a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Politicians across the divide in order to drum up support for themselves have done everything under the sun, including intimidation and threat to make their position clear to the people.
In recent times, some organisations have even gone to the extent of threatening the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari over the elections.
A militant organization even went as far as stating that “We wish to admonish President Muhammadu Buhari not to engage election riggers in the governorship election as such vicious and surreptitious antics shall not only be vehemently resisted, but may also lead to waking the sleeping dog from sleep. We call on the United Nations and, indeed, the international community to bear us witness as we are not unaware of the planned use of ‘federal might’ to intimidate the people of Bayelsa State in favour of their chosen candidate.”
May I say with every sense of responsibility that such threats have no place in a democracy. There is enough room for everyone if only we can agree that all of us cannot rule at the same time. The founding fathers of this state of which I am privileged to be one have lofty dreams for the people and the state since its creation in 1997.
Almost twenty years after, I am glad and happy at the achievements of this great state. I am particularly happy that within its short existence, Bayelsa can with pride compare to other Federating units in Nigeria in terms of human and material development. I am grateful to the Almighty that the first President from the South South Geo- political zone hails from Bayelsa State.
Gradually the Ijaw nation is beginning to enjoy a pride of place in Nigeria! We can only go higher at the rate at which we are developing provided we do not use our own hands to destroy what the founding fathers have toiled very hard to build.
It is on this pedestal that I stand to call all politicians in the state, whether of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), or All Peoples’ Congress (APC), and all other parties to exercise caution in the forth coming gubernatorial elections. They owe the state and her people a duty of maintaining peace as against violence; they owe the people development rather than destruction. Posterity will judge each action that they take, whether collectively as a party, or as individuals. Don’t set Bayelsa State on fire!
It is on this note that I will urge the people and the contestants to accept the result of the elections with calm and peace. We must be humble in victory and dignified in defeat. As former President Goodluck Jonathan, a great son of Bayelsa has said: “No political ambition is worth shedding of a Nigerian blood”.
I say the same to the great people of Bayelsa State, no political ambition is worth a Bayelsan blood. I pray this election will usher into our state a new era of peace, progress and development.
Chief Dan Etete is a former Petroleum Minister