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Eminent Nigerians, including former Head of State Abdusalami Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Hassan Kukah, among others have called for a peaceful election in Ondo State.
The candidates participating in Saturday’s governorship poll have signed a pact to ensure a violent-free election and accept the outcome of the exercise.
All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate and incumbent Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) Eyitayo Jegede, Zenith Labour Party’s (ZLP’s) Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi and 13 others yesterday signed the peace accord facilitated by the National Peace Committee.
The exercise was witnessed by the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, Sultan of Sokoto Abubakar, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Kukah, former Bishop of Abuja Diocese John Onaiyekan, traditional rulers, among others.
Before signing the pact, the INEC national chairman told the candidates that “without peace, our deployment plans, innovations in result management, safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, the credibility of elections will be undermined.”
He said the tense atmosphere in the state ahead of the election demands that “political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to a peaceful election.”
According to him, “it is 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 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.
”Only three weeks ago in Benin City, parties and candidates for the Edo State governorship election signed a 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 tension. The tense 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, innovations in result management, safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, 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 keep the peace.”
Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu said the police would improve on the achievements recorded in the Edo election by protecting the process.
ZLP candidate Ajayi thanked Gen. Abubakar and other members of the peace accord for their efforts.
Jegede of the PDP hailed the committee for its commitment to a peaceful election.
APC’s Akeredolu pledged to abide by the peace accord.