9 Jan. Election: Gov Dickson decries proliferation of arms

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, southern Nigeria, has decried the proliferation of arms in the state ahead of the 9 January supplementary governorship election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.

Dickson, who addressed a world press conference in the presence of some stakeholders in Yenagoa, the state capital on Monday, said he had raised the issue with President Muhammadu Buhari during a private audience with him in Abuja.

He said the President assured him that the issue would be addressed.

Dickson, who is seeking a second term in office, alleged that those stockpiling arms are acting as if they have immunity or are enjoying the protection of security agencies.

He said he is a man of peace who is in politics to build and not to destroy.

“You can’t be my supporter if you brandish offensive weapons. I disagree with Timipre Silva’s politics of violence, eventhough we are friends. Never again will we allow people to use politics to kill and maim in Bayelsa.

“APC are the do-or-die politicians. They are cultists from their university days. The candidate of APC is desperate, the party is desperate. Timipre Silva said the Federal Government will install him as governor. We will defeat APC at every polling unit in Southern Ijaw. We have mobilised voters in every community. Nobody can overrun Ijaws in their communities. They will protect their votes.
All the votes in Southern Ijaw are for me and the PDP.”

Dickson reiterated that “I am a proponent of political tolerance. I only engage in verbal warfare,” warning that no one should create a situation that will be akin to another Boko Haram crisis in Bayelsa State.

He accused Timipre Silva, his political opponent, of instigating the transfer of three police commissioners and directors of DSS from the state within a short period to enable him rig the forthcoming rescheduled election in Southern Ijaw, warning that the authorities should be careful not to destroy national institutions because of election.

The Governor also accused APC of engaging in a campaign of calumny against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, ahead of the 9 January election.

Violence, ballot box snatching and other malpractices led to the cancellation of the election in Southern Ijaw which took place on 5 and 6 December, 2015.

Incumbent Governor Dickson had won in six local government areas out the seven local government results declared, with the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Timipre Silva, trailing closely.

The state has only eight local government areas mostly surrounded by water.

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