From Umar Dankano, Yola
As the 2019 general elections draw nearer, twenty nine political parties have signed peace agreement arranged by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Adamawa state.
However, Governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla Bindow, as Gubernatorial Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the candidate of African Democratic Party (ADC), Senator Abduaziz Nyako, were conspicuously absent at the occasion held in Yola Thursday.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Barrister Kassim Gaidam, said the exercise was a similar accord signed by Presidential Candidates in Abuja recently which is aimed at ensuring peaceful coexistence before, during and after elections.
Gaidam told the governorship candidates that their response to the commission’s invitation to the peace accord signing indicates sign of good
outing in the forthcoming national elections.
“Your presence alone is a testimony to your resolve to ensure that the governorship election and indeed all elections in the State are peaceful”, Gaidam stated.
The REC therefore assured the governorship candidates of the Commission’s commitment to peace before, during and after the elections.
He said the success of the 2015 general elections was largely a product of less violence, as a result of the peace accord signed by candidates, adding that without free, fair and credible elections, democracy cannot thrive in Nigeria.
“It is against this background that it becomes pertinent to bring together all candidates to a round table under the auspices of the Inter-party Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) for the purpose of emphasising the need to have a violence free election in the State comes 2019”, he stated.
He warned that, “when the electoral process is poisoned by violence, it becomes flawed and the outcome is suspect with trust either diminished or lost”, stressing that the implications of violence ridden elections are fatal for both democracy and governance of the country.
Barrister Gaidam revealed that, “we have 29 Governorship candidates in the State out of which four (4) are female.”
He called on civil society organisations, the media, political parties, traditional institutions, community leaders and other stakeholders to participate in the drive to build a society devoid of electoral violence.
According to him, INEC will ensure justice and fair play and exhibit high sense of responsibility through non-partisanship, impartiality, strict adherence to the rule of law, as well as affirmation that the votes count.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Interparty Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), Abdullahi Ibrahim Yerima, who is also the state Police Commissioner,
assured of adequate protection of citizens during and after the elections.
Yerima advised politicians and parents to warn their supporters and wards against taking the law into their hands, as security agents will deal decisively with those caught fomenting trouble.
Commenting also, the governorship candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Umaru Fintiri and Social Democratic Party (SDP), Emmanuel Bello, described the signing of the peace accord as landmark to achieve credible election in the State.
They expressed satisfaction on the exercise, stressing that INEC should keep to their promise without favouring the ruling political party.