Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson wants the international community and all lovers of democracy to actively collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant agencies to ensure that best practices are implemented in next Saturday’s governorship election.
Dickson made the call on Monday during his campaign visit to some communities in his native Sagbama Local Government Area, namely Toru-Angiama, Angalabiri, Agorogbene, Kabeama, Okumbiri and the Ofoni Federated Communities, comprising Eyanvwien, Ediagbon and Ogbe.
The governor said this had become more imperative in order to sustain the existing peace and stability of the state.
He alleged that instead of seeking the support of the electorate in a responsible manner, the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has been claiming that the Buhari-led Federal Government would deploy its might to rig the Bayelsa governorship poll in favour of their candidate.
According to Dickson, the utterances and actions of the APC have clearly shown that they are not ready for a free and fair electoral contest but rather dreaming to wrest power away from the ruling party through the backdoor, a situation he described as impossible.
Reiterating his commitment to peaceful elections, Governor Dickson said he was not only overwhelmed by the love Bayelsans are demonstrating for him and the PDP during his electioneering campaigns across the state, but also the level of preparedness to exercise and protect their franchise.
Interacting with the chiefs and people of the various communities, the PDP candidate thanked them for the three times they had voted massively for him, twice into the House of Representatives and as a governor in 2012, adding that, he had no doubts whatsoever that the people would, as usual, make good their promise of giving his party bloc votes come 5 December.
While assuring them of his readiness to impact more on their lives, immediately after being sworn in for a second term, Governor Dickson promised to expedite work on the ongoing Sagbama-Ekeremor Road and other development projects, in addition to new ones that would be awarded to improve the living conditions of the area.
At Ofoni, he said, “You are one of the largest and densely populated communities in our state. You have two wards and even a very high voting population. So as your son, this community means so much to me. That is why I am passionate about your progress and development. I thank God that all of you that came out here to talk, attested to the fact that I do whatever I say. I will never promise what I know I cannot do. But I’m assuring you and indeed all Bayelsans that I will do more to impact on your lives in my second tenure as the governor of this great state.
“Just do your part as you have always done by giving our party, the PDP, your votes en bloc on the day of the election, which is this Saturday. Come out with your PVCs, vote and wait till after they have counted and declared the result in your unit before you leave. Don’t be intimidated by anybody because no genuine security personnel would harass you for doing the right thing.”
The state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who is an indigene Ofoni, noted that, apart from the ongoing Sagbama-Ekeremor road, on which sand-filling has reached the community, the Dickson-led administration has completed a number of projects including linking the area to the national grid.
In their separate addresses, the spokespersons for Ofoni Communities, High Chief Matthew Ediruo, Chief Daudu Eric, Chief Jacob Akpani and the Acting Amananaowei of Toru-Angiama, High Chief Bruce Okpo, described Governor Dickson as a worthy son by making them proud with the achievements he has recorded within his first term in office, a feat they noted, his main challenger and candidate of the APC could not attain for five years as governor of the state.
In all the communities visited, the people lauded the development strides of Governor Dickson and assured him of their preparedness to work for the victory of PDP in the forthcoming election, noting that, giving their bloc votes to the Dickson/Jonah ticket is a responsibility that must be done to reciprocate the dividends of democracy they have benefitted from the present administration.