ABUJA – Stakeholders in the October 10th gubernatorial election in Ondo State on Tuesday signed the peace pact agreement to maintain peace and decorum with the outcome of the election.
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, some traditional rulers, amongst others.
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 signed the Peace Accord facilitated by the National Peace Committee.
Before the signing, the INEC National Chairman, reminded the candidates that “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”.
He noted that the tensed atmosphere in the State ahead of the election demands that “political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections”.
According to him, “it is worthy 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.
“By your continuous and consistent engagement for peace in Nigeria, you have once again demonstrated that moral suasion is as important as statutory authority in promoting peaceful co-existence and nation-building. Working with civil society organisations and other stakeholders, INEC will continue to support the good work of the Committee for peaceful elections in Nigeria.
The chairman also pointed out that, “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.
“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”.
He further noted that, “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.
While concluding his appeal, he said, that some of the candidates contesting in the Governorship election holding this Saturday were also candidates in the last election held four years ago on 26th November 2016, noting they may wish to recall that the election was free, fair and credible making it one of the Governorship election in the history of Ondo State since 2003 whose outcome was not challenged at the Election Petition Tribunal; not forgetting the fact that about three of the contestants were senior lawyers.
After the signing of the peace Accord, the three major contestants, assured that they will not only support a peaceful election, but will also prevail on their supporters to abide by the rules.