Ahead of Bayelsa Governorship Electio, A non-partisan and concerned community organization, Bayelsa Mandate Group, has raised the alarm over the presence of political thugs in communities in the State ahead of November 11 elections.
This was contained in a statement signed by the group coordinator, Chief Mrs Esther Ikurite, raising serious concerns about the potential for violence, intimidation, and a lack of transparency in the electoral process.
The Forum called on all stakeholders, particularly the Chief of Defence Staff, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), other security agencies, and relevant authorities to take immediate action to address the pressing security issue.
The statement reads in part; “The Bayelsa Mandate Group, a non-partisan and concerned community organization, is deeply alarmed by recent reports indicating the camping of political thugs in some communities, across the state in preparation for the November 11, 2023, governorship election in Bayelsa State.
“These reports have suggested a direct association between the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Timipre Sylva, and his running mate, Mr. Joshua Maciver, in these concerning developments.
“This we wish to state, is not far fetched, from the series of threats, which have emanated from the campaign activities of Mr Sylva and His Deputy, over the past weeks, including the infamous declaration at Twon Brass, where Mr Maciver incited supporters of the APC, to chase supporters of the opposition political parties into the sea, on the day of election.
“Further reasons, for this alarm, is to inform the general public and particularly the security agencies, that in the last two days, our State have witnessed an incident of the killing of a member of the PDP, while as we speak, women and young people are being displaced in some communities in Nembe local government, by political thugs, being aided by some compromised security agents.
“The presence of political thugs in our communities raises serious concerns about the potential for violence, intimidation, and a lack of transparency in the electoral process. It is our firm belief that elections should be decided by the will of the people through a fair, free, and peaceful voting process.
“The Bayelsa Mandate Forum calls on all stakeholders, particularly the Chief of Defence Staff, who was in our state few days ago, with an assurance of protecting our citizens ahead of the forthcoming gubernatorial election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), other security agencies, and relevant authorities to take immediate action to address this pressing security issue.
“We are demanding for a close monitoring of political activities across our communities to prevent any form of intimidation, harassment, or violence.
“We urge all political actors, including Mr. Timipre Sylva and Mr. Joshua Maciver, to publicly disavow any connection with political thugs and to commit to a peaceful and violence-free election campaign. It is in the best interest of the people of Bayelsa State that the electoral process is conducted with fairness, integrity, and the highest regard for democratic values.
“The Bayelsa Mandate Forum remains committed to ensuring that the people’s voices are heard and respected. We will continue to advocate for a peaceful and inclusive electoral process, and we implore all residents of Bayelsa State to remain vigilant and reject any attempts to disrupt the peace and security of our communities,” the statement added.