Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission for allowing the will of the people to prevail in Saturday’s by-elections for the Bayelsa West and Central Senatorial districts.
The governor said the commission was able to do that through free, fair, peaceful and credible conduct of the election.
Diri, who made the remarks on Monday at a press briefing in Government House, Yenagoa, also commended the security agencies for their efforts at ensuring that the electoral process was conducted fairly.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, Diri urged members of the opposition parties, particularly the All Progressives Congress to accept the outcome of the poll, adjudged to be free and transparent.
He described the senatorial electoral victory of his predecessor, Chief Seriake Dickson and former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state chairman, Moses Cleopas, as an early Christmas gift, emphasising that power came only from God.
“It is highly refreshing to note that the electoral process in our state was largely peaceful and orderly. I wish to thank INEC, security agencies and all stakeholders for lending their goodwill and for respecting the will of the people.
“By this outcome, voters have made strong and unequivocal statements that they want to see a continuation of the dynamic and issue-oriented representation that my deputy governor, Lawrence Ewrudjakpo and I championed at the National Assembly.
“We cannot thank you enough for your trust and confidence in the PDP. I wish to sincerely thank all the people of Bayelsa irrespective of political persuasion for participating in a transparent and orderly electoral process.
“Indeed, I consider this an early Christmas present, not only because you overwhelmingly endorsed the two outstanding candidates of the PDP presented to you, but more importantly, because the vast majority conducted yourselves with decorum,” he said.
Diri expressed his administration’s determination to evolve a non-violent electioneering culture in the state, maintaining that the recent election marked a watershed where the electorate voted for candidates that would effectively represent them at the red chambers.
“We hope that INEC improves on conducting peaceful elections across the country and we look forward to the commission achieving less violent and near zero electoral fraud.
Reacting to questions shortly after the briefing, Diri attributed the peaceful senatorial by-elections to the handiwork of God as well his consensus building approach in choosing candidates.
On the issue of internally displaced persons arising from the conduct of the 2019 election, the governor announced that efforts had been ongoing by his administration to resettle such persons in Nembe Local Government Area of the state.