UPDATED: Akeredolu, Jegede, Agboola sign peace pact
Major candidates for Saturday’s Ondo governorship election, including Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress(APC); Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party(ZLP) have signed a peace pact.
They pledged to ensure the exercise is violence-free and accept its outcome.
They signed the pact in the presence of eminent Nigerians, including former Head of State, Abdusalami Abubakar; Sultan of Sokoto, Muhamamadu Sa’ad Abubakar; the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Kukah.
Thirteen other candidates signed the pact witnessed by National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Yakubu Mahmood and traditional rulers.
Shortly before signing the Accord, the INEC National Chairman, reminded the candidates that “without peace, our deployment plans, new innovations in result management, the safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, the credibility of elections will be undermined”.
He observed the charged atmosphere in the State ahead the election demands “political parties and candidates should affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to peaceful elections”.
In his virtual message, Chairman of the National Peace Committee, Abubakar, emphasised the needs for peaceful election in the country.
According to him, no meaningful development can be achieved without peace.
He said: “Since 2015 the National Peace Committee has been committed to peaceful elections in the country.
“Shortly before the 2019 general elections, speculations were rife that the process will be violent and will lead to the country’s ultimate disintegration.
“Once again the NPC was called again for intervention, the Committee not only supported peaceful election at the national level in 2019 but extended its commitment to facilitate peaceful election all over the country.
“Citizens should know that nothing could be achieved without peace. So during this election citizens are urged to abide by the COVID-19 regulations and keep the process safe”.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, urged the candidates to abide by the peace Accord.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, assured that the Police will improve on the achievements it recorded in the Edo election by protecting the process.
Shortly after signing the Accord, the three major contestants, assured that they will not only support a peaceful election but will also reign in on their supporters to abide by the rules.
Ajayi said: “Let me join everybody to appreciate our leaders, let me use our former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar, as a point of contact to appreciate all members of the Peace Accord.
“Having said that, I want to let all of us know that our party, the Zenith Labour Party, has always and will continue to conduct ourselves in a most peaceful and democratic manner into this exercise, we have started and the whole world is watching all of us, you have never one day noticed our campaign train attacked and we never attacked anybody.
“We will continue to appeal to those attacking themselves to see election as a democratic programme that is set out with an agenda that is guided by rules and democratic guidelines. Having said that we are praying that on the 10 of September that our votes will count. Once again let me say that noboby’s ambition is worth the blood of any citizen”.
Jegede said: “Let me also say that for me as a person, I am absolutely committed to a peaceful election before the election and even after the election, when the results have been announced.
“I say that there is no option for us other than to follow a peaceful process. I implore our security agencies, especially the Police to ensure that they comply with the rules, it is not enough to say that you want to be neutral, neutrality may mean staying aloof and not interfering.”
Akeredolu said: “In the last two occasions, all of us operating as brothers and I cannot recollect any violence in those two elections but if we have one all two issues here and there, it is not to say that Ondo State people are violent.
“Maybe learning from experience we have refused to be involved in violence. I can assure you that the Saturday’s election will be peaceful, as long as the Police are there. For me as the governor of the state, I will still address the people on the need for peace”.