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Candidates and political parties participating in Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State have signed a Peace Accord, promising to to shun any form of violence.
At an event held at the Prof Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre, Awka, 17 candidates contesting in the election and their political parties resolved to keep to the agreement of abiding by the peace treaty.
This is coming as the chairman of the National Peace Committee (NPC), General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), called on candidates and their political parties to ensure they abide by the peace accord to ensure a free, fair, and credible election.
Abubakar, a former Head of State, stated that the accord is not just a mere exercise but a clarion call for stakeholders to commit themselves to a peaceful electoral process.
He said: ‘We are all aware of the consistent history of political and electoral violence in Nigeria. Almost every election in Nigeria is accompanied by violence, ballot box snatching, vote buying, outright disruption of the process and in some cases, the intimidation of ordinary citizens who simply want to select a leader that will govern them.
“This violence has gone beyond just the period of election. Every day we hear stories of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and in most cases, outright criminality. This ugly trend continues to threaten the peace, security and stability of our dear country. The question is when will all this stop? How can we work together to ensure peace and stability both during and after the election cycle?
“We the members of the National Peace Committee have come to Anambra State to support a peaceful electoral process. We cherish Anambra State, and we cherish the peace and unity of Nigeria. Most importantly, we want to contribute our own quota to see that the governorship election in Anambra State is devoid of violence.
‘We call on candidates, their parties and supporters to accept the outcome of the vote as long as it is adjudged to be free, fair and credible. In the letter and spirit of the Accord, any aggrieved party should not resort to violence, but follow a judicial process.
‘Therefore, the signing of the Peace Accord today (Thursday) is not a mere exercise. It is a clarion call for all the candidates and the political parties to commit themselves to a peaceful process,’ the former Head of State added.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu said the commission has concluded plans to ensure a hitch-free election while urging the parties to adhere to the Peace Accord and ensure that the election is conducted without any acrimony.
He said: ‘The INEC is ready to organise a hitch-free election. The focus of the NPC was initially for the presidential election but having played a major role in a free, fair and credible elections in Edo and Ondo, we called your support for the Anambra election on Saturday and we are happy they responded.
‘We are also hopeful that this election will pass on without hiccups. We hope the political parties will adhere to the peace accord so that we can have a peaceful election and country,’ the INEC boss added.
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