Ahead of the Ondo State Governorship Election scheduled for October 10, 2020, prominent Nigerians including former Head of State, Abdusalami Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhamamadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Kukah, among others, have called for peace in the state.
This is just as candidates participating in the Saturday’s governorship election on Tuesday, signed a peace agreement to ensure a violent free election and to accept the outcome of the exercise.
The Peace Accord facilitated by the National Peace Committee, was signed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate and incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and those of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede, the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Akeredolu’s deputy, Agboola Ajayi and thirteen other candidates.
Also, the signing was witnessed by the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, the Sultan of Sokoto Abukabar Saa’d, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Kukah, former Bishop of Abuja Diocese, John Onaiyekan, traditional rulers, among others.
Shortly before signing the Accord, the INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, reminded the candidates that without peace, the deployment plans, new innovations in result management, the safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, the credibility of elections will be undermined.
He noted that the charged atmosphere in the State ahead of the election demanded that political parties and candidates affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections.
According to him, “It is gratifying to note that respected statesmen, including traditional rulers as well as religious and business leaders, are working in a voluntary and non-partisan way to promote peaceful elections for the consolidation of our democracy in particular and for peace in Nigeria in general.
“Working with civil society organisations and other stakeholders, INEC will continue to support the good work of the Committee for peaceful elections in Nigeria.
“Only three weeks ago in Benin City, political parties and candidates for the Edo State Governorship election signed the Peace Accord. The intervention of the NPC no doubt contributed in no small way to the peaceful conduct of the election whose outcome has been adjudged as credible”, he said.
He stated that the Ondo State Governorship election which holds this Saturday, is unfortunately generating its own tensions, adding that the charged atmosphere demands that political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections which are the five cardinal pillars on which the Peace Accord rests.
He assured the Peace Committee of INEC’s commitment to transparent and credible elections. “The votes will count. I call on all political parties and candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord by appealing to your supporters to maintain the peace before, during and after the elections. This will be your own way of showing commitment to the Peace Accord and appreciation for the work of the Peace Committee”, he said.
In his virtual message, the Chairman of the National Peace Committee and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, emphasized the need for peaceful election in the country, adding that no meaningful development can be achieved without peace.
In his words, “Since 2015 the National Peace Committee has been committed to peaceful elections in the country. Citizens should know that nothing could be achieved without peace. So during this election, citizens are urged to abide by the COVID-19 regulations and keep the process safe”.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, urged the candidates to abide by the peace Accord. “I will like to call on you not to see the signing of this Peace Accord as just a mere ceremony formality but as a commitment by all of you, in fact a covenant by which you will be held responsible for the outcome at the end of the day. I want to call on you once more to obey the rules of the game”, he noted.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, assured that the Police will improve on the achievements it recorded in the Edo election by protecting the process, adding that they will be professional to the core and protect lives and property, before, during and after the election.
Shortly after signing the Accord, the three major contestants, assured that they will not only support a peaceful election, but will also rein in on their supporters to abide by the rules.
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