Senator Douye Diri, governor of Bayelsa State, has urged politicians in the state not to prepare for violence in the November 11 governorship election, claiming that the election is about votes, not firearms.
Governor Diri also urged his opponents to fight for votes rather than bullets. Mr Daniel Alabrah, his Chief Press Secretary, cited the governor as saying this during the 25th State Security Council meeting on Thursday at Government House in Yenagoa.
He cautioned the opposition that mayhem and violence would not be tolerated.
Governor Diri, in response to a recent concern expressed by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, that incumbent governors were preventing the opposition from using public facilities in some states, assured that his administration will ensure a level playing field for all parties and that the opposition in the state will not be bullied.
He did, however, urge security agencies to be vigilant to prevent any acts of violence before the election.
In 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 Ijaw, 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.”
Tolani Alausa, the state Commissioner of Police, told journalists after the meeting that the council decided to form a combined task force to combat criminal activities ahead of the governorship election, particularly in the Nembe axis.