Former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has told the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr Godwin Obaseki and his All Progressives Congress (APC’s) counterpart, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in the Saturday’s governorship election in Edo states that their integrity is at stake.
The former head of state who presided over the signing of the peace pact by political parties participating in the election, said by agreeing to sign the pact, they are committing yourselves to ensure peaceful conduct of the election.
“I urge all the stakeholders to commit to the spirit of the accord while also remembering (that) a violation of this accord is putting your integrity on line, because you are signing this as people who are to be taken for your words.
“We are calling on everyone to work towards ensuring peaceful election process and ensure that peace reign in Edo State during and after election,” Abubakar demanded.
Abubakar who is the Chairman of the National Peace Committee (NPC), urged the parties to adopt a code of conduct that promote consultations as such will reduce the adversarial relationship that often develop during campaign.
“We as a people should aspire to see Nigeria where people feel safe to come out and cast their vote without any fear and need for police deployment,” he advised.
Convener of the National Peace Committee, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, advised the candidates not to see the signing of the peace accord as mere ceremony, but “a vow, a trust and commitment making to the people of Nigeria and the rest of the world.”
Kukah who is Bishop of Sokoto diocese, noted that the NPC works at the level of presidential election but have to step it down because of the desire to see a peaceful conduct of Edo election.
“Our prayer and hope that is that the election will be most peaceful. We appreciate the great work INEC is doing,” he added.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the NPC has demonstrated that so much can be achieved in nation-building by the force of moral rather than statutory authority.
Prof. Yakubu regretted that the commission’s “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 reiterated INEC’s commitment to conduct credible election in Edo State and called on the political parties and their candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the peace accord.
“Let it be your covenant with the people of Edo State to maintain the peace before, during and after the elections,” he advised.
Obaseki who described the peace accord as unique and historic, pledged that his party will abide by the terms.
“I have no choice because, apart from being a candidate, I am also the governor and chief security officer of the state. I want to commit that I will live by the terms of the accord,” the governor promised.
On his part, the APC candidate, Ize-Iyamu said he will be committed to the peace pact.
“We will talk to all our supporters to behave peacefully. We assure you that the election is going to be peaceful,” he pledged.
Apart from PDP and APC, other political parties and their candidates also signed the peace pact, which contained 10 principles and code of conduct.