INC Tasks Politicians, Supporters to Shun Violence in Bayelsa Guber
By Etete Enideneze
Apex socio-cultural organisation of the Ijaws, Ijaw National Congress (INC), wants political actors to shun all acts of violence, ahead and during the November 11, 2023 governorship election in the Bayelsa State.
The INC specifically cautioned political parties, candidates and their supporters to embrace the prevailing peace in the state, and ensure that electorates cast their votes freely in a non-violent atmosphere.
National Publicity Secretary of the INC, Engr. Ezonebi Oyakemeagbegha made the call in Yenagoa.
Engr. Oyakemeagbegha, said, the call was in line with the mandate of INC to promote peace and unity. He noted that apart from advocacies for cultural awareness and the quest for self-determination, the INC has been intervening in crises, to let Ijaws see themselves as one, without allowing politics tear them apart.
The publicity secretary stated that politicians have a huge responsibility towards peaceful elections, as their stake for power as well as body language could instigate or nib violence.
His words: “Some politicians instigate war among themselves, just to lead. I do not think that is the appropriate thing. We are advising very strongly that all politicians play the game according to the rules.
“They should canvass for votes. It is not to encourage bitterness among them, instead they should promote or tell the electorates what they can do for them, and that look, we can actually lead you people”, the INC spokesman, advised.
He further stressed the need for politicians to realise that democratic election entails freedom of choice, “… it is not about force” hence politicians should not intimidate or “…force the electorates” to vote against their wish, nor suppress votes if not in their favour.
Engr. Oyakemeagbegha also called on voters as well as youths who are supporting candidates, not to allow themselves to be used for any forms of violence in the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State. According to him, electoral violence could lead to lose of lives and properties, including those of the perpetrators.
Harping on the youth-bracket of political actors, the publicity secretary of the INC noted that politicians took advantage of the unemployment scenario to turn young ones into willing tools to execute hate-speech, thuggry and electoral violence, instead of creating jobs to engage them.
“Due to unemployment, youths are easily lured to do things they ought not to do for politicians and political parties. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop, so the youths are vulnerable.
“They should avoid being used, despite unemployment. They should apply wisdom in being used to perpetuate violence or campaign of hate and calumny against opponents of their masters”, Engr. Oyakemeagbegha admonished.
According to him, politicians do not encourage their children and relatives to carry out the violent acts they influence others to do.
He further pointed out that big politicians settle rift after elections and leave supporters to suffer enmity, thus, youths should use their wisdom in playing politics.