The factional National Chairman of the Labour Party, Lamidi Apapa, has disclosed the plan of the party to stage a peaceful protest over the alleged refusal of Governor Douye Diri, to conduct local government elections in Bayelsa state.
Making the disclosure through a statement issued in Abuja, Apapa, urged the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission to commence the process of the election, as a matter of urgency.
“If BYSIEC fails to issue a notice to commence the process of local government elections before month end, the party would resort to civil actions aimed at pressuring the governor to do the needful.
“The civil action would be peaceful but resolute, in our pursuit of electoral justice and democratic representation for the people of Bayelsa State,” Apapa said.
Apapa who stressed that the importance of local government is to bring governance nearer to the people through the grassroots politics that will recognize the yearnings of the people and cater for their needs as quickly as possible, noting that the governor would not deny the importance and significance of the grassroots to the state, as local governments were created to help establish, nurture and sustain democracy and democratic political culture in society.
However, he expressed the need for LGAs to be given powers to function effectively, to stabilize and strengthen the political system in the country, noting that importance of LGAS in ensuring democratic representation for the people at the grassroots level can not be over-emphasized.
“The people of Bayelsa State, particularly those at the grassroots deserve elected officials who can effectively advocate their needs and drive development initiatives.
“We are concerned that funds intended for local governments in Bayelsa State are being withheld by the state government, instead of being allocated to democratically elected local government officials.
“We view the development as a deliberate neglect of the local area, contradicting the governor’s claims of pursuing a prosperous administration,” he stated.
However, he expressed sadness in making use of civil servant in controlling the affairs of local government, while describing it as an unconventional and backward approach, to the business of public governance, noting that delay in conducting the LGAs elections may be driven by the governor’s political agenda, contrary to his earlier statements of prioritizing the people’s development over political manoeuvres.
However, he revealed that attention of the party had also been drawn to the slow progress of the ongoing case in Sagbama High Court, Yenagoa, aimed at compelling the governor to conduct elections.
He however expressed concerns about alleged potential interference with the judicial process, while urging the governor to respect the independence of the judiciary, which played a crucial role in his assumption of office.