INEC urges participants in Ondo guber election to respect peace accord
Ahead of the Ondo State governorship election coming up on Saturday, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, has called on all political parties and candidates to respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections signed under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC) headed by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar (rtd).
Speaking during the stakeholders meeting held in Akure yesterday, which had in attendance the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah and others, Yakubu observed that though the election holding on 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.”
Boss of the electoral umpire noted that without peace, the deployment plans, new innovations in result management, and the safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, the credibility of elections would be undermined.
According to him; “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 disclosed that respected statesmen, including traditional rulers as well as religious and business leaders were working in a voluntary and non-partisan way to promote peaceful elections for the consolidation of the nation’s democracy in particular and for peace in Nigeria in general.
According to him, “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.”
Yakubu also assured the National Peace Committee of INEC’s commitment to transparent and credible elections, saying; “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.”
He added that some of the candidates contesting in the Ondo governorship election were also candidates in the last election held on November 26 2016.
“You will recall that the election was free, fair and credible,” he stated. “You may also recall that it was perhaps the only governorship election in the history of Ondo State since 2003 whose outcome was not challenged at the Election Petition Tribunal. This is in spite of the fact that three of the contestants were senior lawyers. With this record and the recent peaceful conduct of the Edo State governorship election, I implore you all and your supporters to conduct yourselves peacefully and not lower the bar.”
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