Ahead of the November 11 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State, the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Joshua Maciver, has been slammed for allegedly inciting violence.
In a video, which has now gone viral on social media, Maciver, who spoke at a campaign rally on Sunday evening in Twon Brass community of the state, urged voters to “show them”.
“Let’s be prepared on the 11th, don’t joke with anybody, if anybody misbehaves in Twon Brass, chase am enter the sea make him die. Una dey hear? Chase am make him die,” he told the gathering in Pidgin English.
“After all, he won’t be the first person to die, so let’s prepare and let’s show them that this time around, when we take it, we are taking it for final. No court movement.”
However, his comment has attracted criticism from Nigerians on social media, who called on security agencies, especially the police to investigate and probe him.
Many Nigerians said the APC deputy gubernatorial candidate’s comment shows the desperation that Nigerian politicians often give to elections and the violence attached to contesting elections in the country.
Similarly, reacting to Maciver’s apparent call to violence, a group known as the Bayelsa Women Arise, has urged the Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to take immediate action to reassure voters of their safety during the exercise.
In a statement signed by the publicity secretary of Bayelsa Women Arise, Ebibaratimi Atani, the group expressed worry that the threat of violence may destabilise the forthcoming poll.
“We urge the Inspector-General of Police to launch a thorough and swift investigation into the comments made by Mr. Joshua Maciver, as a way of preventing bloodshed, which Mr. Maciver and his co-travelers are determined to unleash on our people during the forthcoming election.
“Recall that few days ago, our organisation expressed our fears and sensitized the people of Bayelsa on the for a violence free Governorship election on November 11, during a Peace Walk where thousands of Bayelsa people participated.
“During his speech in Twon Brass, Joshua Maciver shockingly advocated for the killing of supporters of opposition candidates, thereby inciting violence and creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in our beloved state.
“Such statements are not only unbecoming of a political candidate but are also a direct threat to the democratic process, which is built on the principles of peaceful coexistence and respect for the rights and choices of the citizens.
“Therefore, we, as concerned citizens and advocates for peace, justice, and a fair electoral process, strongly condemn these reckless remarks and call upon the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the DSS to take immediate and decisive action to reassure voters of their safety.
“Law enforcement agencies must protect the lives and property of all citizens, and we believe that failure to address this issue promptly would set a dangerous precedent for our state’s political climate.
“In light of the above, we urge the Inspector General of Police to launch a thorough and swift investigation into the comments made by Mr. Joshua Maciver, as a way of preventing bloodshed, which Maciver and his co-travelers are determined to unleash on our people during the forthcoming election.
“We strongly believe that nobody, regardless of their political affiliation, should be above the law, and justice must be served.
“It is crucial to remind all political actors of their responsibility to promote peaceful coexistence and respect for democratic principles.
“We want to emphasise that our appeal is not driven by political bias but by a genuine concern for the safety and well-being of all citizens of Bayelsa State.
“It is our fervent hope that the forthcoming governorship election will be conducted in an atmosphere of peace, fairness, and respect for the democratic values that our nation upholds.
“We hope that the Police and other security agencies will demonstrate their willingness to ensure a peaceful governorship election in Bayelsa State by making sure that Mr. Joshua Maciver’s statements do not go unpunished and that the democratic process in Bayelsa State is protected,” the statement read.