The Labour Party has vowed to stage a peaceful protest over the alleged outright refusal to conduct local government elections, by Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State
The Factional National Chairman of the party, Lamidi Apapa, made this known in a statement in Abuja.
Apapa urged the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC) to do the needful.
“If BYSIEC fails to issue a notice to commence the process of local government elections before month end, the party would resort to civil actions aimed at pressuring the governor to do the needful.
“The civil action would be peaceful but resolute, in our pursuit of electoral justice and democratic representation for the people of Bayelsa State,” he said.
Apapa said the governor would not deny the importance and significance of the grassroots to the development of a state, as local government areas were created to help establish, nurture and sustain democracy and democratic political culture.
He said that as such, LGAs needed to be given powers to function effectively, to stabilise and strengthen the political system.
He further said the importance of local government in ensuring democratic representation for the people at the grassroots level could not be over-emphasised.
“The people of Bayelsa State, particularly those at the grassroots deserve elected officials who can effectively advocate their needs and drive development initiatives.
“We are concerned that funds intended for local governments in Bayelsa State are being withheld by the state government, instead of being allocated to democratically elected local government officials.
“We view the development as a deliberate neglect of the local area, contradicting the governor’s claims of pursuing a prosperous administration,” he said.
According to Apapa, the Labour Party strongly condemned the utilisation of civil servants to administer local government affairs describing it as an unconventional and backward approach.
He said the delay in conducting the local council election may be driven by the governor’s political agenda, contrary to his earlier statements of prioritising the people’s development over political manoeuvres.
He said the attention of the party had also been drawn to the slow progress of the ongoing case in Sagbama High Court, Yenagoa, aimed at compelling the governor to conduct elections.
Apapa also expressed concerns about alleged potential interference with the judicial process.
He, therefore, urged the governor to respect the independence of the judiciary, which played a crucial role in his assumption of office.