- …No meaningful dev without peace, Abubakar
- …Abide by accord, Sultan tasks candidates
- …Police will improve on our Edo performance, IGP assures
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
With three days to the Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu has raised the alarm over the tensions that the poll is generating.
Prof Yakubu raised the alarm yesterday when members of the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee, NPC, committed the various governorship candidates for the election into signing a peace accord in Akure, the State capital.
At hand to witness the signing of the peace pact were; the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah and other eminent members of the NPC.
The INEC Chairman stated that by their
continuous and consistent engagement for peace in Nigeria, members of the NPC have, once again, demonstrated that moral suasion is as important as
statutory authority in promoting peaceful co-existence and nation-building.
Prof Yakubu declared that the charged atmosphere in the State demands that political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections.
The INEC Chairman said, “Unfortunately, the Ondo State Governorship election holding this Saturday is generating its own tensions.
“The charged atmosphere demands that political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections which, I understand, are the five cardinal pillars on which the Peace Accord rests. “Without peace, our deployment plans, new innovations in result management, the safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, the credibility of elections will be undermined.
“Even worse, public health will be jeopardised as observance of safety protocols in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic will be impossible to achieve in an atmosphere of disruption, violence and disorder.
“It is, therefore, important for everyone to maintain the peace.
“I wish to assure 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 to the peace accord signing, the Chairman of the National Peace Committee and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, emphasized the need for peaceful election in the country.
Abubakar pointedly declared that no meaningful development can be achieved without peace.
He said, “since 2015 the National Peace Committee has been committed to peaceful elections in the country.
“Shortly before the 2019 general elections, speculations were rife that the process will be violent and will lead to the country’s ultimate disintegration.
“Once again, the NPC was called again for intervention, the Committee not only supported peaceful election at the national level in 2019 but extended its commitment to facilitate peaceful election all over 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”, he said.
Another member of the NPC and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, urged the candidates to abide by the peace Accord.
The Sultan of Sokoto said, “this morning (yesterday), by the Grace of our creator, we are gathered for the signing of the peace accord between contestants of the forthcoming election, as members of the Peace Committee that have come together voluntarily.
“We have seen many elections across the country, from the main presidential election in 2015 till date.
But the best one so far was the one that took place in Edo state.”It was so good and so real that the main contestant has said that he will not challenge the outcome, which means that he agreed with what the INEC and the security agencies did to bring peace and stability and transparent election in that state.
“Before then we were aware of the heat generated in Edo State before the elections but it is now history.
“Now we are in Ondo State as members of the Peace Committee to talk to the contestants and their followers as religious leaders who are high stakeholders in general peace across in this country.
“I will like to call on you not to see the signing of this Peace Accord as not just a mere ceremony formality, but as a commitment by all of you, infact a convenant 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. I call it a game because I see election as a game where there must be a winner.
“There must be one winner who has already been ordained by the Almighty God before the casting of the first ballot and we do not know the person.
“Therefore when you do go out, tell the citizens what you will do for them, tell them your agenda, sway then to your side, talk to them to be peaceful, do not allow thuggery to take place throughout the duration of the election on Saturday. “Let me remind all of us that power belongs to God”.
Also speaking, 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.
Represented by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in charge of Research, Mr Adeleye Oyebade, Adamu said, “The police is going to be professional to the core. We are going to protect lives and property, before during and after this election.
“Police is going to ensure that the fundamental Rights of the citizen is protected.
“We are asking that the electorate should come out, we have enough personnel on ground.
“We have enough facility on ground to ensure a hitch free election.
“We are going to improve on what we did in Edo State”, Abubakar stated.
After signing the Accord, the three major contestants, assured that they will not only support a peaceful election, but will also reign in on their supporters to abide by the rules.