Ijaw Elders Forum in collaboration with other relevant groups, has tasked all relevant authorities in Bayelsa State, especially the State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), to ensure the conduct of a credible, violence-free local government election in order to bring government closer to the people.
The group also called on the state government to conduct full investigation into the circumstances that led to the sudden resignation of the chairman of the state electoral umpire, Dr Perekeme Bertola, a few weeks to the conduct of the elections on the ground of alleged threat to his life. The group insisted that the culprits must be brought to book, calling on the authorities to “address the misgivings expressed against the appointment of Mr. Ball Oyarede as the new Chairman of BSIEC based on allegations that he is a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.”
In a statement made available to Sunday Sun by Mr. Efiye Bribena, the group said: “Every lawful step must be pursued to enforce our collective vigilance in these local elections and the gubernatorial election following afterwards in the year. The collective resolve to reject imposition, violence and electoral manipulation, both at the internal party level and on election days, was loudly sounded by the cross section of Ijaw political and civil society at the summit on credible and peaceful elections jointly convened by our organizations in Yenagoa on 22nd May 2019, with former President Goodkuck Jonathan (GCFR) in attendance as a special guest.” The group also dismissed as unconstitutional the current caretaker committee put in place by the state government since 2016 in place of duly elected chairmen to be in charge of local government administration.