The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday, sought the partnership of Bayelsa traditional rulers in the efforts to conduct peaceful and credible governorship election in the state on Nov 16.
Mr Monday Udoh, the Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in the state, who made the request at a meeting with the royal fathers in Yenagoa, stressed that INEC, was poised to conduct free and fair election.
He said the one-day meeting, tagged: “Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR): Pre-Election Round-Table on Conflict Resolution’’ was to enlighten the royal fathers on the need to tackle disorder before, during and after election.
The REC described traditional rulers as “Peace Ambassadors’’ and urged them to support INEC’s initiative on Election Alternative Disputes Resolution (EADR), adding that the managing conflicts informally would forestall breakdown of law and order during and after election.
Mr Clement Oha, Director, ADR, INEC Headquarters, Abuja said the meeting was part of efforts to check pre-election and post-election cases.
“This is to solicit royal blessing, support and advice, on the sustenance of peace before, during and after the election.
“We urge the traditional rulers to apply their wealth of experience in their areas and support INEC in tackling election disputes,’’ Oha advised.
Chief Alfred Diete-Spiff, Chairman, Traditional Rulers Council in the state said the meeting was a welcome development and pledged to ensure hitch-free election in Bayelsa on Nov. 16.
“Yes, the success of an election depends on people, especially the traditional rulers but, first, we must call the politicians to order because they are the major cause of conflict.
“The politicians should stay away from disorder; we know they can agree and disagree, but INEC has to advise them more.
“The police and other security agencies need to step up their games in managing conflicts, especially during elections.
“We must know that election is not war and we must avoid using the army.
“We, the traditional rulers, will do our best and we are going to mobilise our members including the first class Chiefs across the eight local government areas of Bayelsa,” Diete-Spiff said.