Yenagoa—Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said that the state will not condone the activities of illegal uniformed groups before and during the November 11 governorship election in the state.
Governor Diri warned such groups to stay away from the state or be ready to face the wrath of the law.
The Bayelsa governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gave the warning against the backdrop of claims that some politicians were planning to arm youths dressed in acquired uniforms to perpetrate violence during the poll.
Diri spoke at the service of songs in honour of a late All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Chief Nestor Binabo, who was a former Speaker of the House of Assembly and Acting Governor of the state, at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet hall, Yenagoa on Wednesday.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, called on such individuals to retrace their steps as the state was no longer a theatre of war during elections.
He asserted that with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), violence, thuggery and ballot box snatching have become irrelevant during elections.
Diri extolled the qualities of the departed politician, stressing that Binabo was never known to patronise thugs for election purposes and urged other politicians to take a cue from his noteworthy example.
He said: “Those civilians plotting to dress in military toga during the November election, it is time they realised that Bayelsa was no longer the spot for such games played over the years. That culture of political violence has to stop.
“We are happy that now we have the BVAS. So, those used to violence to attain offices, even from the point of view of INEC, have to stop. With BVAS, you can no longer write election results or intimidate and terrorise the same people you want to lead. If you plan to do that, please I advise you join the military.”
Diri noted that only a few leaders in the state have demonstrated their belief in peaceful transition of power and in development for the people and the state, which the late Binabo exemplified.
He further advised politicians to make good governance and genuine service to the people their watchword. This, he argued, was the only panacea to preventing the distasteful situation currently in the Niger Republic.
In his tribute, a former Speaker and Acting Governor of the state, Chief Werinepre Seibarugu, said he had a harmonious working relationship with Binabo, who was his Deputy Speaker in the House of Assembly.
Chief Seibarugu described the late Binabo as an open-minded friend, who never hid his life’s history from him, adding that he was also a loyal and firm politician that always stood by his decisions.
In a sermon titled: “What Will You Be Remembered For”, the State Overseer of the Assemblies of God’s Church, Pastor Living Joshua, said those who impacted lives positively will be celebrated when death comes while those who never did will be easily forgotten.
Pastor Joshua urged the congregation to love God with passion like David and to prepare themselves for eternity as time was running out.
The cleric, who described Bayelsa as a predominantly Christian state, called on the people not to go back to Egypt by embracing leaders whose intentions were contrary to what they believe in.