Abuja—Ahead of the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State, political actors in the state have been cautioned against reckless and unguarded utterances capable of undermining the prevailing peace in the state.
A concerned group, Network of Bayelsa Professionals (NBP), made the appeal in a statement in Abuja.
The statement which was signed by the Co-ordinator, Mr. Agbada S. Agbada, the group said the admonition was part of its efforts to discourage politicians, particularly the gubernatorial candidates from the path of rancour and bitterness in their campaigns.
The Bayelsa professionals noted that while individuals reserve the right to aspire to any elective office, such aspirations must be pursued with decency and moderation to preserve the relative peace the State has experienced in the past few years.
The group commended Governor Douye Diri for demonstrating exemplary leadership by his consistent accommodation of dissent, criticisms, tolerance for the opposition in the State and commitment to peace.
According to the group, Diri’s disposition of political maturity is a sharp departure from the norm and has significantly reduced political tension in the State and other political actors should emulate the governor in the conduct of their political activities ahead of the elections.
“As we draw closer to the November 2023 gubernatorial elections in the State, it has become imperative for us to sound a note of caution to politicians to avoid unguarded utterances and conduct that will heat up the polity and jeopardise the relative peace the State has enjoyed for the past few years.
“As Bayelsans who are seeking to lead the State, we expect that the collective interest of Bayelsans will be the overriding consideration. Therefore, all political actors have a duty to preserve the relative peace the present administration has laboured to achieve.
“Recent utterances of some aspirants reflect a fixation on the abhorrent politics of mudslinging and desperation. We note that such utterances could easily heat up the polity and threaten the relative peace in the State.
“While we acknowledge the constitutional rights of qualified Bayelsans to freely aspire to lead the State, and encourage active participation by Bayelsans in the electoral process, we advise political actors to avoid politics of bitterness and rancor and take the path of brotherhood, decency, mutual respect and peace in their political campaigns.
“In this respect, we commended Governor Douye Diri for demonstrating exemplary leadership by his consistent accommodation of dissent, criticism, tolerance for the opposition in the State and commitment to peace.
“This disposition of maturity and commitment to peace by the Governor is a sharp departure from the norm where some past governors deployed state resources and powers, and non-state actors to harass, maim and silence critics and opposition politicians.
“The significant decrease in political tension in the State is largely attributable to the exemplary conduct of Diri and we urge other political actors to emulate the Governor in the conduct of their political activities ahead of the elections.”
The group appealed to media organizations not to allow their platforms to be used by politicians to promote hate, campaign of calumny and other inciting and provocative remarks.
“Bayelsa is our only home and we have a collective responsibility to protect it from politicians who place their ambitions above the interest of the State,” the statement reads.