Bayelsa state governor Douye Diri has advised traditional rulers in the state to shun partisan politics in the upcoming 2023 general election.
Diri, who gave the advice Thursday during a meeting with the State’s Council of Traditional Rulers at its secretariat in Yenagoa, urged the monarchs to create a level playing field for all political parties.
He forced them to ensure that no political party hijacked the process in its favor, and warned that any traditional ruler who allowed his domain to be used for electoral malpractice would be unrecognized.
However, he expressed hope that the implementation of the bimodal voter accreditation system by the Independent National Electoral Commission would end electoral malpractice.
The governor said: “As custodians of our heritage and culture, it is your duty to provide a level playing field for all political parties in the state to freely solicit votes in a favorable and peaceful atmosphere.
“We all know that issues like elections fragment brothers, sisters and communities. So as we approach the 2023 general election, I beg traditional rulers to remain apolitical.
“Don’t allow a political party to hack the process in your domains to commit election fraud. If that happens, while the traditional ruler sits in the comfort of his home, his recognition is revoked.
“You have been recognized in your different kingdoms as guardians of our heritage and culture. In the state of Bayelsa, you performed administrative duties, working closely with the chairmen of the council.
“I had instructed the local government presidents to involve traditional rulers in their monthly Security Council meetings. Our security architecture has changed and the crime rate has fallen in the past month.”
Responding to issues raised by the chairman of the council of traditional rulers, King Bubaraye Dakolo, the Ibenanaowei of the kingdom of Ekpetiama, Diri said the cooperation between the state government and security forces to improve security on land and waterways was paying off. , especially in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw local government areas.
Concerning the shortage of teachers in schools in rural areas, he instructed the Education Commissioner, Gentle Emelah, to establish the number of teachers in urban schools and ensure a balance with their counterparts in the rural areas.
Diri, who also approved the renovation of the traditional ruler’s secretariat through the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, assured that the government would investigate other issues such as the revision of allowances, operating costs and the provision of commercial vehicles.
Earlier in his remarks, King Bubaraye Dakolo praised Diri’s government’s developmental steps, particularly in carrying out people-oriented projects across the state.
Dakolo, who promised the monarchs support for the government, also highlighted a number of issues bordering on security, education and other concerns of the council.