Ahead of the Edo state Governorship Election scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2020, political parties and their candidates on Tuesday signed a Peace Accord.
The meeting was convened by the National Peace Committee under the leadership of the former Head of State,General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Speaking at the signing which took place at the Oba Akenzua II Cultural Centre, Benin City, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated that the peace accord signed by the political parties and candidates contesting in the Edo Governorship election is to affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to the principles of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
Prof Yakubu, said that it is again 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 not only for peaceful elections for the consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy in particular but also for peace in Nigeria in general.
In his words, “The National Peace Committee has demonstrated that so much can be achieved in nation-building by the force of moral rather than statutory authority. INEC, working with civil society organisations and all other stakeholders, will continue to support the good work of the Committee.
“We welcome this initiative. Our preparations, deployment plans, new innovations in result management, the safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, the credibility of elections are all negatively affected by violence or malpractices.
“Even worse, the health of all those involved is jeopardised by any disruption that will make the observance of health protocols in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic impossible. It is, therefore, important for everyone to maintain the peace”, he said
He further assured the people of INEC’s commitment to credible elections, adding that the votes will count, and the people of Edo State will determine who becomes their next Governor.
While noting that the choice of the Edo people will be upheld, he also reassured the voters in Edo State of the Commission’s neutrality.
Furthermore, the INEC Chairman called on all political parties and candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the peace accord. “Let it be your covenant to the people of Edo State to maintain the peace before, during and after the elections”, he urged.
For his part, Bishop Kukah warned that the signing of the peace accord shouldn’t be seen as a “mere ceremony.”
Also present at the event were representative of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), DIG Adeleye Oyebade, and representatives of the Benin Monarch.