Road to 2023: Diri tasks politicians on ‘bloodless’ elections

From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has called on politicians to avoid actions that would lead to bloodletting in the 2023 elections.

Governor Diri stated this during the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration held at the Peace Park in Yenagoa.

According to him the outcome of elections should be determined by the ballot box and not the strength of the gun, adding that the ultimate power to enthrone leadership lies in the hands of God.

He recalled the bloodletting that characterised the 2019 governorship campaigns in Nembe community and cautioned that all political players should vow never to allow the killing of youths in the state because of elections in spite of their ambitions.

Governor Diri, who appreciated the sacrifices of fallen heroes and serving members of the Nigerian Armed Forces to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria, noted that the remembrance day should remind Nigerians of the sacrifices of the military and the need to live in peace and unity.

He called on the people to support projects and intervention programmes initiated to care for the loved ones of fallen heroes and servicemen as a token of appreciation for the sacrifices the military men are making for the safety of all.

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The Bayelsa helmsman also called on Bayelsans to unite and support his administration’s programmes to tackle under-development and poverty in order to achieve a prosperous Bayelsa.

He said: “This 2022 will trigger another episode in the political dynamics of our nation’s democratic growth. I believe this occasion is ideal to reiterate my often-stated optimism that elections should be about ballots and not bullets. That we should count ballots and not bodies.

“I give this admonition with the greatest sense of responsibility because the many wasted lives cut down in the prime of their lives at Nembe during the 2019 governorship elections in this state remain indelible in our memories.

“Let us collectively vow that never again will the blood of Bayelsans water the ambitions of desperate politicians. Whereas the temptation to overzealously take matters into our own hands exists, let us pause and appreciate the fact that, ultimately, all power belongs unto God.

“Our debt of gratitude to those who choose to die for us even when they did not even know us should be immense.

“The essence of commemorating this day is not to glorify war. Rather, it is to recall the price that others had to pay for us to live in peace and thus commit ourselves to live in such a manner that future generations will have no need to fight wars. The labour of our heroes’ past should never be in vain.”