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Bayelsa People as Eventual Losers of Governorship election

By Babs Ajayi

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The governorship election in Bayelsa State was recently concluded after a failed and abandoned one late last year. It was full of spat, blood, broken limbs, damaged properties, burnt houses, battered victims and murdered opponents. It was a fight-to-finish, to use that pedestrian phrase, and, produced mass losers, the residents and indigenes of Bayelsa State, a state that is probably the most looted in the nation, its people the most denied and poverty-stricken, abandoned and abused by the same people who fought the last election and brought the state into a previously unknown level of fracas and mayhem. The two civilian governors who ran the state to the ground before Silva and Seriake Dickson, Mr. Solomon Peter Alamieyesigha and Mr. Goodluck (more like bad luck) Jonathan displayed an unusual level of greed and a lack of commitment to the people and the state, hence their impropriety and promotion of corruption to a new level.

The high level of disturbance, the use of thugs, touts and miscreants before and during the election, the destruction of properties, and killings must be investigated and perpetrators prosecuted. For how long will thugs and motor touts play major roles in elections in Nigeria? The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has remained a factor in the political life of our nation. For how long are we as a people allow motor touts such as Oluomo (Lagos State), Tokyo (Oyo), Auxiliary (Oyo), Die-the-matter (Ondo), Jungunnu (Ondo), Babatope (Ekiti), Adekola (Ekiti), and the others in various states of the federation maintain an ignoble role in our political life? How can we as a people allow thugs and touts to continue to influence the outcome of our elections? There should be no room for thugs in our society.

The NURTW relies heavily on membership fees, tolls and levies they collect from willing and unwilling transporters and drivers. They intimidate, harass, molest, and assault commuters and unwilling members, and they are willing tools in the hands of politicians, particularly state governors. Bola Tinubu, Gbenga Daniel, Rasheed Ladoja, Adebayo Alao-Akala and Ayo Fayose have patronized, used and deployed them during governorship elections. There was even a bloody clash between some members of NURTW and some PDP members in the home of the late Ibadan politician Alhaji Arisekola in October 2012, a fight that has its root in the murder of the factional leader of NURTW known as Eleweomo, who was killed during a battle for the soul of the Oyo State wing. They were actively involved in the recent elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States to intimidate, harass, maim, kill opponents, and help rig the elections using voter intimidation as a weapon. The menace of motor touts and thugs in our political system must be eliminated and the politicians who use them be severely punished and banned. Touts and thugs thirst for blood and are willing to spill it and kill people. They will do anything for their political masters when the going is good, and no errand is too small or too big to carryout, hence the burning of homes and killing of people in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

Until that time when thugs and motor touts are prevented from playing any role in the political life of Nigeria, vote rigging, ballot box grabbing, political killings and assassinations, intimidation of voters and related misdemeanours will remain. All of these reared their ugly heads in Bayelsa State and made the governorship election in the state a disaster. The ultimate losers of the chaos and crisis (shaus and krisis a la Alhaji Busari Adelakun) that followed the election are the people of the state. The funds of the state was used by the two main opponents and spent to inflict death and destruction on the people – and by the very people who wanted to rule them. The ruler is now the thief, the looter, the murderer, the anarchist and the destroyer – all rolled into one. As things stand at the moment, only time will tell what benefits, if any, will accrue to the people of Bayelsa State from the election. Bayelsa people have given up so much and deserve to get something back in return, not only to indemnify them for the pains the election inflicted on them, but for the huge allocations the state receive from Abuja every month.


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