Ahead of November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State, a coalition of Ijaw interest groups have condemned the spate of politically motivated killings in certain parts of the state and urged all parties concerned to eschew violence and maintain peace during and after the poll.
Vanguard reported that the group also advised the youths not to allow themselves to be used as tools to kill one another for the interest of politicians.
A statement signed by the Secretary of Ijaw Elders Forum, Mr Efiye Bribena, on behalf of the coalition, enjoined the people of Bayelsa State not to sell their votes but ensure that they choose the best candidate that would promote good governance in the interest of all and sundry.
It partly read: “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.
“Elections should not be a matter of do or die in our beloved state. We must show political maturity by playing the game according to the rules. Candidates should promote their candidacy by campaigning and marketing their programmes 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 rein in their supporters that are susceptible to violence. Bayelsa State should not be turned to a battlefield or theatre of war because of election.
“Bayelsans should use the opportunity of electing a governor with character, competence, conscience, and capacity, courage, credibility and accountability.”
The group, therefore, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, 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 elections.