April 13, 2024

Bayelsa NGOs Forum gets new executive, pledges stronger ties with media, stakeholders

Bayelsa NGOs Forum gets new executive, pledges stronger ties with media, stakeholders

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State Non-Governmental Organizations Forum (BANGOF) on Friday elected a new executive to pilot its affairs for the next two years, promising to strengthen its relationship with the media, government, and stakeholder organisations to promote peace, social justice, development, and good governance in the state.

The 31-member coalition made this commitment in Yenagoa shortly after they elected Mr. Taritein Boco, a member of the Nembe City Development Foundation, to take over from Mr Torki Dauseye, member of the Family Welfare Foundation.

While declaring the results of the election at the office of the Environmental Rights Action (ERA), the election committee chairman, Mr. Tonye Ayamah of the Healthy Living Initiative International (HLI), explained that out of the 31 member organisations revalidated for the election only 26 were accredited to vote.

He further declared that: “The outcome of the election is as follows: for the position of chairman, Kemedengiyefa Opia of the Youth Renaissance and Development Initiative (YORDI) scored 13 votes, while Mr Taritein Boco scored 15 votes. With the powers conferred on me, I hereby declare Taritein Boco the election winner.

“For the position of financial secretary, the contest was between Mr. Ekpenyoung Effiong Edet who scored 8 votes, and Mrs. Chioma Olele Jones who scored 16 votes and declared the winner.”

Delivering his acceptance speech shortly after he was declared winner, Boco said “What we intend to do immediately is to rally around members who have lost faith in the organisation and see how we can all come together to restructure BANGOF.

“We also intend to investigate policy documents that will help us better work and partner with other institutions such as the government and the media to grow our society. We will make BANGOF get back on track. The election is a win-win contest and I am happy with the outcome.

“My contender is a friend and brother who has worked with the organisation for a very long time. He has the experience and contacts we will need to help the organisation grow faster. So I will work with him closely.”

Meanwhile the other contender for the position of chairman, Opia said that the election was free and fair.

“We thank God that a winner has emerged. I am particularly happy that it was a clear victory for the winner because the process was not stage-managed.

“I strongly believe that BANGOF will wax stronger and whenever the new leadership comes for any form of assistance, whether information or documents, I will be willing to help them.”

Also, the outgoing chairman, Mr. Torki Dauseye said: “The election was free and fair. The turnout was impressive. And I assure you there will be no litigations. There was no money politics or discrimination at the election and this is how we want elections to be in Nigeria.

“We have been able to register BANGOF with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), built the capacity of member organisations and created our visibility with the government and media in the State. We expect the incoming leadership to build on these things we have achieved.”

A Niger Delta activist Chief Nengi James, who observed the election called on politicians and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to learn from the manner NGOs and CSOs organize elections to improve on timely distribution of sensitive materials before the commencement of the election.

He said: “For us in the Civil Society Organization (CSO), we know how to conduct ourselves and our elections are always outstanding. The process was free and fair because we don’t have an election petition tribunal. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should learn to keep to time on election days so that it would not the opportunity for politicians to create room for rigging.”

Speaking also, Mr Alagoa Morris, the Project Officer/Head of Niger Delta Resource Centre at Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria expressed confidence in the capacity of the new leadership of BANGOF to revive and lift the organisation to greater heights.

He noted that the election was credible and a family affair.

“It was free and credible and is one of the best BANGOF has conducted so far. I want to beg our politicians to also learn from this one. There is no need to make elections a do-or-die affair.

“You must present yourself to the electorates to see if they are convinced to give you their mandate. When BANGOF started, we started very strong and at some point we were not visible anymore.

“We thought by now we would have snowballed into a big tree, since other states like Rivers, Edo and Delta came to Bayelsa to learn from us. But while they are waxing stronger, we are going backwards.

“What I expect from the new executive is to bring back that energy BANGOF once had and make it a force to reckon with.”

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