The Search for Common Ground , an election process advocacy civil society group on Tuesday decried the tense political atmosphere capable of threatening a peaceful governorship elections on Nov. 16, 2019.
Ms Joy Baiye, Media Advocacy Cordinator of the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) made the observation at a press conference in Yenagoa.
Baiye noted that reports from 24 preelection observers deployed by the NGO was worrisome and called for restraint by the stakeholders.
The group stated that use of abusive and inflammatory language by political gladiators in the dominant political parties was a danger signal that would further alienate the marginalised groups from the electoral process.
According to Baiye, the election promises to be one of the most closely contested in the state under the fourth republic.
“The potential for violence is also depicted by a number of recent development And the situation keeps deteriorating; remarks from candidates in the two parties is alarming.
” As an organization that works in the area of peacebuilding, Search for Common Ground is greatly concerned with this baddevelopment, seeing the provocative actions of political party supporters and hate speech coming from the two major parties.
“This constitutes serious danger to the election and period beyond. For instance the carrying of coffin to campaign with inscription of another parties name on it, the numerous verbal attack by the governorship candidates.
“Party supporters using online platforms to post derogatory comments about their opponents.
“Women haveexpressed fear to vote after witnessing a violent campaign that included open death threats opposition between opposition party supporters.
“These remarks are highly disturbing, Elections come and go, therefore, no citizen or body no matter how highly placed should be allowed to jeopardize its conduct if our democracy is to be safeguarded and strengthened.
” In particular, no election should cost the life of anyone in the state,”,Baiye said.
The NGO urged youths to understand the hope society places in them and resist any provocation to cause chaos before, during and after the election.
The group urged traditional and religious leaders, business community, academic community, amongst others. to help in making the election peaceful.
The NGO appealed to the Bayelsa Election Peace Committee to continue to engage politicalactors and relevant stakeholders across the state to ensure peace reigns in the state.
The equally called on politicians, their supporters and youth to be orderly and avoid hate speech or spreading fake news either online or off line