…As guber candidates agree peace pact
Ahead of 2019 general elections, governorship candidates of all political parties in Kaduna state yesterday agreed to a peace pact, as Governor Nasir el-Rufai stated that massive rigging by PDP in 2011 resulted in the crisis that claimed several lives and properties across the North.
El-Rufai, who expressed optimism that there will be no violence in Kaduna during and after the 2019 general elections, if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducts a credible poll like the recent gubernatorial election in Osun state, vowed to prosecute those threatening the peace of Kaduna state.
Speaking during a Kaduna State Peace Commission organised event tagged: ‘Summit Towards Peaceful 2019 General Elections in Kaduna’, el-Rufai said, his party is committed to peace and peaceful elections in the state.
“The political parties that merged with APC were victims of rigged elections and consequential violence. It was the massive rigging of election in 2011 that led to widespread violence at that time and Kaduna state lost over 800 lives. The election of 2015 was a game changer because everybody believed it was credible particularly in the northern part of Nigeria and southwest.
“To a large extent, most people believed that 2015 election were credible and that was why it was inevitable that President Godluck Jonathan had to concede and here in Kaduna state, we are also happy the governor then called me and conceded.
“We just returned from Osun state for the inauguration of a Governor. I was in Osun for the first round of election and it is the most credible election I have ever seen in the world. I was not around for the second round, but the first round of election in Osun was very credible. Election materials arrived early, no incidences of destruction or violence or snatching of ballot boxes.
“If INEC conducts election of 2019 with the same kind of credibility as Osun first election, there will be no violence at all because it is rigging that lead to violence. To be governor is not an easy job. It is just that when I look at some of those that want to be governor and what they have done to the state in the past, I feel I have a duty to protect the state and people of the state from the evil of the past.
On the peace pact, he said: “The biggest challenge we have as state government in Kaduna state is the likelihood of violence during campaign and election day. Most of the violence that occurred in this state were post election violence”, noting that elections and campaign in Kaduna state have generally been peaceful.
Meanwhile, the PDP Chairman, Hassan Hyet charged the APC to ensure a peaceful election, saying that, fairness, equity and justice are the foundation for peaceful elections.
He said PDP was ready to conduct itself in accordance with the law and INEC guidelines, but the security agencies and the electoral umpire must equally play by the rules and avoid being partisan.
Chairmen and gubernatorial candidates of other political parties who spoke said they were ready to play by the rules, but the ruling party must not use the instruments of the state to rig the election in its favour.