November 11 election is contest of votes, not guns, says Governor Diri

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  • Assures opponents of level playing field

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has asked politicians in the state not to prepare for violence in the November 11 governorship election, saying the poll is about votes and not guns.

Governor Diri also urged his opponents to contest for the ballots and not bullets.

His Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as stating this during the 25th State Security Council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, on Thursday.

He warned the opposition not to resort to mayhem and violence as it would not be tolerated.

Governor Diri, who referred to a recent concern expressed by chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmoud Yakubu, that incumbent governors were preventing the opposition from using public facilities in some states, assured that his administration would ensure a level field for all parties and that the opposition in the state would not be arm-twisted.

He, however, urged the security agencies to be alert to forestall any act of violence ahead of the election.

His words: “In Bayelsa, I assure my opponents that we are not going to arm-twist anyone. In the same vein, no opponent should threaten mayhem and violence.

“This government has the capacity to contain them if anybody dares us. We want a Bayelsa State, which is the centre and Jerusalem of all Ijaws, to play that role of not only tolerating ourselves but also visitors who come here to contribute to the growth and the development of this state.

“So I again call on all our security agencies to be alert as we move towards the November 11 contest. It is a contest of votes and not of guns. It is a contest of ballots, not bullets. As the former president succinctly said that his office was not worth the blood of any Nigerian, I believe in that and I stand by those words.”

Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, the state Commissioner of Police, Tolani Alausa, said the council resolved that a joint task force to checkmate criminal activities preparatory to the governorship election, particularly in the Nembe axis, would be set up soon.

Alausa noted that the task force would comprise of the military, police, Department of State Security, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other key security agencies to be headed by the police commissioner.

He also disclosed that the council approved the setting up of a task force to clampdown on unapproved tinted vehicles used to perpetrate crime in and around the state capital.