Bayelsa State Governor-elect, Chief David Lyon, has described a Certificate of Return he received from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a social contract between him and the people of Bayelsa.
Lyon, who received the certificate from INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers states, Mrs. May Agbamuche, said he would not disappoint the people of the state, who came out en masse to vote for him in a free, fair, credible and peaceful election.
Describing November 16 as a historical day, he said the people trooped to their polling units with pains in their hearts to vote out the current government and usher in a new administration powered by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Lyon reiterated that he would treat the state revenue as the people’s money meant for development.
He said: “The Bayelsa money is not my money. The Bayelsa money doesn’t belong to my deputy. It is the people’s money and we will use it judiciously to develop Bayelsa State. I, David Lyon, is signing a contract with the people of Bayelsa to bring peace to our state so that development will come to Bayelsa”.
Lyon said, though, in every election, there must be a winner and a loser but that in his own case everybody that contested with him should be regarded as a winner.
He called on other contestants including the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Douye Diri, to work with him for the development of Bayelsa.
The governor-elect said the election was free, fair, credible and peaceful adding that it was the first time in the history of the state such contest was held without any loss of life.
He said he was particularly impressed that Southern Ijaw, his local government area hitherto notorious for electoral violence, went through the Saturday’s poll without violence.
He said: “I extend my greetings to the good people of Bayelsa, who went out with pains to decide the next government with their votes. They exercised their rights in the most peaceful election so far recorded in the history of Bayelsa.
“I assure you that David Lyon, his team and the APC will not disappoint Bayelsans. In an election, we always have many contestants especially in the one that we have just concluded in Bayelsa. Today by the will of God, I have emerged the winner. But that doesn’t mean that others, who contested with me are losers.
“They are also winners like me. There is no looser. This is the time for us to come together to develop Bayelsa. We have lost a lot. We have missed a lot. Let us come together to develop this our great state. I commend the Independent National Electoral Commission for doing a great job.
“I also commend security agencies for doing a good job. This is the first in the history of Bayelsa politics that the election is peaceful. Like the local government I come from, when the foreign observers came, they were asking that Southern Ijaw is usually violent during elections. But I told them that I was praying to God to make this election peaceful in Southern Ijaw.
“By the grace of God, it was so clear that Southern Ijaw and the entire state is peaceful. Today I greet the great, women, men, youths and traditional rulers in Bayelsa. This is not about David Lyon. It is about the people of Bayelsa State. We assure you that in this our incoming administration, security, development is key”.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Pastor Monday Udoh, said the election conducted by INEC was adjudged right in the eyes of the world.
He said the process, which started in May 2019, came with a lot of apprehension following fears of violence hinged on the outcome of previous elections in the state that were marred by violence and killings.
But he noted that through various engagements with stakeholders, civil society groups, alternative dispute mechanism and security agencies, the commission was able to deliver a free, fair and credible election.
He said despite pockets of skirmishes in some areas during the poll, no life was lost in the election adding that the commission provided and deployed adequate resources to achieve the feat.
Udoh said a factor that almost threatened the poll was rising water level in most communities but that through prayers, the water receded significantly before the poll.
He said he fasted and prayed for 14 days doe the flood to recede and for God to grant Bayelsa a peaceful and credible poll.
“Despite pockets of skirmishes, no life was lost. The winner should be magnanimous and the losers should be gallant in their defeat”, he said.
Also speaking, Agbomuche, said the ceremony was in line with Section 75 of the Electoral Act, which stipulates that after elections, the winners should be presented with certificates of return within seven days.
She explained that elections were conducted in six units in Brass Constituency 1 to conclude the process that was hindered by litigations on the constituency.
“I am glad to report that the election of November 16 was largely peaceful, free, fair and violence-fee. It will help us to deepen constitutional democracy”, she said.
She further commended all the ad-hoc staff of INEC especially members of the National Youth Service Commission (INEC), security agencies and other stakeholders, who participated in the process.