An Ex-militant leader, Mr Ramsey Mukoro, has advised political parties, aspirants and ex-militants to shun violence in the forthcoming Dec. 5 governorship election.
Mukoro, leader of the Niger Delta Ex-Agitators Solidarity Front, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa on Sunday that the alignment of candidates with various ex-militant groups was a recipe for violence during the polls.
He appealed to the ex-militants to remain neutral to avoid over heating the polity and causing unnecessary fears and apprehension among the electorate.
Mukoro noted that although it was the right of the ex-militants to support candidates of their choice while it was in the strategic interest of the leaders to keep their political preferences private.
He said doing so would engender a peaceful atmosphere for the elections to hold and enable the most popular candidates to emerge through a credible process.
He also condemned the idea of using ex-militant leaders by various parties for political purposes during their electioneering campaigns.
“As leaders, I personally feel that we should play the role of peace advocates and ensure that we have a violence-free poll.
“But a situation where politicians are scrambling for endorsement of ex-agitators sends the wrong signals.
“We should refrain from any acts that could spark off violence resulting from our open endorsement or expression of support for politicians.
“All the aspirants are our brothers and we are all Bayelsa people; if we all love Bayelsa, we should encourage peace and show support for our proffered candidates by voting for them.
“The idea of ex-militants grouping along ethnic and party lines suggests that there is going to be a clash.
“We should all guard against an clashes and violence as it will drag us back to the dark era that we have left behind; we should be making progress,’’ Mukoro said. (NAN)