G24 Embasara Foundation, a Bayelsa based civil society group, on Friday bemoaned the imposition of candidates by dominant parties in the recently concluded party primaries in the state.
G24 Ambasara Foundation expressed its dismay in a statement signed by Denzel Amagbe Kentebe, Chairman, Board of Trustees and Iniruo Wills, Co-convener, and made available to newsmen in Yenagoa.
The group, a non partisan, not-for profit leadership and governance initiative, noted that it is disturbed by the alarming proportion of candidates that were reportedly forced, and foisted on the people by godfathers.
It observed that the practice led to the exclusion of other aspirants thereby depriving the people of Bayelsa the benefit of a robust engagement that would have led to the emergence of the best.
“With the publication by the INEC in Bayelsa State of the official list of party candidates for the 2019 elections, the stage is now set for the usual fierce power tussle and horse trading.
“We frown at the indiscriminate, lawless and unfair practise where during the conduct of party primaries by some political parties delegates of well-favoured aspirants were reportedly given preferential treatment over and above other delegates thus breeding distrust, rancour and acrimony among hitherto loyal party men and women.
“We note that the gale of defection sweeping across the parties and in particular the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state lately is traceable to the undemocratic practice.
“It is perhaps not unconnected with the growing number of disgruntled party faithfuls who have been denied their legitimate right to participate in primaries free from manipulation, imposition, harassment and intimidation,” the statement read in part.
.It stated that whereas political parties raked in hundreds of millions of naira from aspirants ,some sold personal effects to be able to purchase the exorbitant nomination and intent forms
According to the group, the parties on their part, failed to provide the required level playing ground to test their popularity and hence defeated the very essence of the primaries to the disadvantage of aspirants.
The group urged Independent National Electoral Commission to forestall the re occurrence and nip it in the bud. since INEC is by law empowered to supervise party primaries.
It said that it was the duty of INEC to ensure strict compliance with approved prudential guidelines and extant laws, adding that it must share in the blame and take responsibility for ensuring that future primaries are well monitored.
The group called on the Bayelsa Government and the Bayelsa Police Command to play the role of an impartial arbiter by creating the enabling environment for the smooth conduct of credible elections in 2019.
“G24 is however worried that with the process leading to the emergence of the party flagbearers published by INEC characterised by behind-the-scenes manipulation and open rascality, the foundation of the 2019 elections in the state is already greatly weakened.
“We are equally shocked at the fewer number of female aspirants offering themselves for elective offices going by the INEC list.
“This is even when most parties offered nomination forms free of charge to female contenders.
“The global trend is that more and more women are beginning to take active interest in political leadership and Bayelsa cannot afford to be an exception,” it stated
The group noted that as the 2019 poll approaches, economic prosperity and sustainable development of the state can only come about when the right candidates not the right parties are voted into power.
It called on the people of the state to exercise their franchise and vote out bad leadership.
The group said it advocates the emergent political leaders must commit to abide by a code of good governance stipulating minimum thresholds of service delivery and quality assurance.
“Those political gladiators whose stock in trade is to hold the political economy of the state by the jugular and convert the commonwealth to their private estate, should be prepared for a rude shock.
“This is because the cry of the masses, like that of the Israelites in Egypt, has ascended to heaven and the finger of God is set to disgrace and dethrone the wicked Pharaohs and Herods in the land.
“God is set to enthrone the Josephs, Daniels and Joshuas that will take Bayelsa to the promised land,” the group stated.
It further urged youths to shun political thuggery and and resist dubious politicians who lure them and turn the votes of the masses into ballots of blood only to abandon them when the chips are down.