Bayelsa Guber: Many Eligible Voters Won’t Vote Due To High Transport Fares – Traditional Ruler
Many eligible voters could not travel to riverine areas of Bayelsa state to cast their votes in the ongoing governorship election due to hike in transport fares.
The most affected areas are Brass, Nembe, Ijaw South and Opuama Kingdom.
HRM Kenneth Ngoo Okpokeme is the traditional ruler of Opuama Kingdom in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
He told THE WHISTLER that, “Many people would not vote because it costs about N20, 000 to travel to some riverine communities in Ijaw South LGA as well as Brass LGA. It is our peculiar problem here. Unfortunately, those living outside their communities were encouraged to return home to obtain their permanent voters cards.
“Many complied. But with the removal of fuel subsidy, many won’t vote. It costs over N10,000 just to go to my kingdom from Yenagoa. How many people can afford it? I will advise that people vote wherever they reside. I can count over 500 persons that could not travel on Friday because speed boat operators increased their fees by over 100%. Many of our communities cannot be accessed by cars.”
The royal father however prayed for peace in the state. According to him, “All the political parties have campaigned very well. As a traditional ruler, my prayer is that there should be no violence during the election. I believe that the election will be very peaceful.
“Our people want to vote. You can see the crowd and the surge at polling units. They want to elect their governor. That is why we all here. Those going into creeks have enormous challenges. Outside this election, for one to go to southern Ijaw alone costs about N10, 000 to go and another N10, 000 to return. Our challenge is mainly that of transportation. Some places take about four hours. Some cost more than N10, 000.
“I advise politicians not to encourage violence. At the end of the election, whoever that wins, other contestants should embrace each other and work for the development of the state.”