Alaibe Decries Electoral Violence in Bayelsa

Timi Alaibe

Nneka Emeghara

A former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ndu timi Alaibe, has described the current gale of violence rocking Bayelsa State, few days before the scheduled governorship election in the state, as unacceptable.

Timi’s comment came on the heels of the death of no fewer than five people on Wednesday following gunshots fired by an unidentified gunman at King Koko Square in Nembe-Ogbolomabiri in Nembe Local Government Area of the state where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was scheduled to hold its governorship election campaign.

Alaibe, in press statement that was personally signed by him declared that: “This level of unprovoked violence is unacceptable. At many occasions and as someone who has been in a position to fight against violence, I have asked these questions particularly as they concern my state: Why should a true Ijaw man murder a fellow Ijaw man just because he wants to win an election? Why should anyone procure arms and train people to kill their fellow human beings so as to pave way for their rise to power? Why would anyone desire to swim in the blood of fellow Bayelsa men and women so as to attain exalted political offices? This is not just an abomination but an aberration”.

Alaibe, who was also a PDP governorship aspirant in the state, said that dozens of other people were said to have sustained different levels of injury.

“Besides party loyalists who gathered at the venue of the campaign, mostly affected were media practitioners who were performing their professional duties,” Alaibe said.

According to Alaibe, elections to public offices are supposed to be based on acceptability by the electorate. “That acceptability is a product of popularity of ideas. Election must not be contested and won based on superiority of violence but on superiority of ideas. Ideas speak to the heart of the people. Ideas generate transformation. Violence brings about torture and death. The result of violence is bloodshed and tears.”

He also stated that unofficial reports indicated that several houses have been burnt down while several people who ran into the creeks to escape being murdered are yet to be accounted for.

“This is sad. It would be recalled that a few days earlier, two law enforcement officers from the Nigeria Police Force were reportedly killed by gunmen at a certain checkpoint while on official duty at Otuogidi in Ogbia Local Government Area of the State,” he said, adding that: “Elections must be contested and won based on the

free will of the voters. Voters must not be intimidated by threat of violence. We must resolve to depart from this path. Every democratic society is tailored after the ideological concept of freedom, welfare, equality, solidarity and progress,” Alaibe said.

He warned that elections to public offices should be based on a candidate’s acceptability by the electorate. That acceptability is a product of popularity of ideas.

“My position has always been that politics or election is not worth dying and killing for. It is not war”.