By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
The peace accord meeting of political parties and stakeholders ahead of the general elections in 2019, almost ran into troubled waters on Wednesday over a ‘fowl language’ by Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Alex Hart.
The incident happened during questions and answers session of stakeholders and peace accord meeting on Wednesday held at the Police Officers’ mess in Benin City, Edo State.
A total of eighteen political parties, however, signed the peace accord after a heated arguments.
The REC allegedly got a rough end of the stick while responding to an allegation of complacency made by the candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) for Edo Central Senatorial of Edo State, Mr. Jamain Amen against Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
Jamain, had accused INEC officials in Igueben Local Government Area of the State of handling the collection of Permanent voters Cards (PVC’s) by “ordinary Nigerians” with kid gloves and treating issues involving VIP’s with dispatch.
Mr. Hart, however incurred the wrath of the politicians when he stood up and requested the NCP Candidate along with aggrieved persons whom he claimed had difficulties in collecting their PVC’s to come to his office on Thursday at 10am.
Peeved by the alleged uncomplimentary remark by the REC, heightened tension at the meeting which was at the instance of Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, the State Chairman of Labour Party (LP) and State Chairman of inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Comrade Kelly Ogbaloi, directed the leaders of the 18 political parties that were present not to sign the pact, citing the failure of the State REC, Mr. Alex Hart to retract his comment.
Ogbaloi’s declaration came shortly after a former President of National youth Council, Mr. Solomon Igiogbe who berated the REC for attempting to play the ostrich.
According to him, “As the chairman of IPAC, I have the powers to direct the political parties present here not to sign this accord”.
But, he was interrupted by the Chief Imam of Benin Central mosque, Alhaji Abdullah Enabulele who allegedly engaged the duo in a shouting match, also defended the REC, stressing that he (Alex Hart) did not insult anybody”.
“We should have respect for elders and leaders. We should be patient”.
It was gathered that the intervention of Chief Eduwu Ekhator, the Obasogie of Benin, however saved the day.
“If we want peace in our nation, your homes must be a launchpad for peace”, admitting however that the REC “statement was ambiguous”.
He insisted that the manner in which the former youth leader berated the REC, deserves “a total condemnation”.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, charged the stakeholders to be lawful in their conduct and cooperate with the various security agencies in the State towards a peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.
Of the 26 political parties that are fielding candidates in the national and state House of Assembly as well as the Presidential elections.
The Peoples Democratic Party was absent at the meeting while the All Progressives Congress and seventeen political parties signed the peace pact.
Traditional and religious leaders, youth and civil society organizations, INEC and heads of the various security agencies, media executives also attended the meeting.