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Standing against election violence ahead of the 2023 election, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) shunned the Ogun State Peace Accord, leaving only nine other parties to do the signing.
The Ogun State peace accord designed to ensure peaceful poll before, during and after the 2023 election was presented before the nine political parties in attendance, giving their consent and commitment to foster a peaceful Ogun State ahead of the election.
In attendance were nine of the 13 INEC recognised political parties for the Ogun State governorship election, which include: PRP, LP, AAC, AA, APC, NRM, ADP, ACCORD and APM.
The State Political Parties Chairmen signed the peace accord to take proactive measures to prevent election violence before, during and after the election.
The peace accord reads in part: “reaffirming our communities to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, desirous of promoting the unity and cooperation existence of Nigeria as an individual entity, determined to avoid any conduct or behaviour that will endanger the political stability and national security of Nigeria, determined to place national interest above personal and partisan concern, reaffirming our commitment to fully abide by all rules and regulations as laid down in the legal framework for election in Nigeria hereby submit ourselves and our parties to the following:
“To run issue-based campaigns at national, state and local government levels. In this, we pledge to refrain from campaigns that will involve religious sentiment, ethnic or tribal profiling, both by ourselves and all agents acting in our name.
“To refrain from making or causing to make in our names or that our parties any public statement, pronouncement, declaration or speeches that have the capacity to incite any form of violence before, during and after the elections.
“To forcefully and publicly speak out against provocative utterances and oppose all acts of electoral violence whether perpetuated by our supported or opponents.
“To commit ourselves, our supporters and political parties to the monitoring of the adherence of this accord if necessary, by a peace committee made up of respected statesmen and women, traditional and religious leaders.
“All the institutions of government including INEC and security agencies must act and be seen to act but in line with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The state Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole in his remarks said that the command has started a process by which an enabling environment will be created for all political parties and candidates to have a feeling of fair playing, justice, and fairness.
He added that as law enforcement officers, the command has committed itself to ensuring that there is no violence and whoever thinks violence would win the election should have a rethink.
In his words, “We would be applying both the electoral law and our criminal laws in dealing with such situations, and I want to add, we are going to be very decisive in this matter. Nobody has told me that, commissioner of police, support me in allowing my men to resort to violence, I can tell you with all sense of responsibility.
“Nobody has told me and, if anybody tells me that, that is one request we are not going to oblige. So, throwing it back at you, go back to your supporters that there is no going to be any room for violence, the REC is here.
“The only thing you can make recourse to is to sell yourselves to the electorates who will be king on that day.
“On this note, I want to give you that assurances that the commands will be fair in dealing with election security matters.” He submitted.
Chairman of the PRP, who also doubles as the chairman of IPAC in Ogun State, Eng. Samson Okusanya who also described ‘violence’ as a word associated with politics, said it is unavoidable but can be reduced.
Okusanya, added that the Accord is an indication of violence free election and assures the electorates that safety during the election is guaranteed as the party chairmen have agreed to work hand in glove with law enforcement agencies to ensure peace.
“Campaigning is a way of exposing what the present government is doing that goes with mismanagement, or unhappiness of the state which we may term as hate speech.
“That is why I said I want to speak with my people. When anybody holds the microphone or a politician, he will actually be saying what will make people not to vote one another, and we should be tolerant enough to know that this is part of the game. No politician will come up and praise his opponent, it is impossible, but it is left for us to know that there is law and order, we can share what we know about each other and if you want to term it.
“They will say it is hate speech, I don’t know if there will be an encouragement that if you want to make a speech, you will first report to the police while campaigning.
“But I can assure you as a politician that we will do our best to make sure there is no violence. The party leaders are here and they have been hearing what they are saying, I believe all that has been said here is for the politicians and by God’s grace, we will put a lot of effort to convince our followers, the electorates that we should shun violence, which, by God’s grace all things are possible.
“Nigeria will see peace. This nation will know peace and Ogun State will know peace.”
Estimated reading time: 1 minute(s)
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