Punch

Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Seriake Dickson, who was declared winner of the state governorship election on Sunday, thanked the electorate for their gallantry in ensuring his re-election for another four years, adding that his victory was triumph for democracy.

He, however, said there would be no celebration because of the number of lives that were lost in the course of the election.

Dickson, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, on Sunday night in Yenagoa, however, vowed that he would go after the killers during the election and bring them to justice.

He promised to work tirelessly to justify the mandate given to him “as we tried to do in the first four years to almost universal acknowledgement and approbation.”

While extending a hand of fellowship to his political opponents, Dickson said since election had been won and lost, the needs of Bayelsans and the challenge of improving their material condition remained his focus.

He said, “To the extent that the people ensured that they spoke loud and clear and that their choice clearly emerged provide some reassurance that our democracy is coming of age.

“Sadly, however, the elections were conducted at the price of several lives lost and mayhem visited on many communities by mindless brigands clearly suborned by those who do not respect the democratic process and have equally scant regard for the sanctity of lives and property.

“Unfortunately, we can’t celebrate because people have died.

“I want to assure you that we will do everything possible to identify the culprits and bring them to justice. I want to express my heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the families of the innocent victims of the violence. The government will be undertaking a full accounting of what happened.

“The mandate you have given us having been clearly demonstrated, I want to assure you that my administration will work tirelessly to justify this mandate as we tried to do in the first four years to almost universal acknowledgement and approbation.”

In its own reaction, the PDP Governors Forum hailed the people of Bayelsa State for standing against what it called brute force and terror unleashed on them in the Saturday supplementary election by the APC.

The governors said this in a statement by the coordinator of the forum, Mr. Osaro Onaiwu, in Abuja.

It hailed the winner of the election, who is a member of the forum, Dickson.

The governors said but for the resilience and determination of the people, the “APC was inordinately out to capture the state as if it was a trophy of war”.

The PDPGF added, “It is unfortunate that a party that came into office through a free and fair process offered by an incumbent has neglected to imbibe democratic tenets by engaging in thuggery and outright violence as if the state is a trophy of war.

“The Bayelsa election is a wake-up call to all Nigerians to reject any extra constitutional means by which the APC intends to cling to power.

“We call on our members in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Edo States to brace in the coming days and show that the PDP is indeed the custodian of democracy as it has done for the past 16 years.”