Ahead of this Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State , representatives of political parties participating in the election, yesterday, signed a peace accord in Benin to shun violence during and after the election.
The ceremony was presided over by former Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and supported by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, also a member of the Committee and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese.
From INEC record, 14 political parties registered to participate in the election, but candidates of only two parties, the APC and the PDP, were seen to have vigorously campaigned for the election.
Earleir in his speech, Gen. Abubakar stated that the NPC was in Edo to support the electoral process not just the signing of the peace accord by all candidates but also to encourage them to accept the outcome of the election no matter the result, He thanked the Oba of Benin for the role he played when the tension was at its peak.
The former Head of State urged all to use ‘the process of election in Edo as a test of future elections’, and reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement, saying “let every Nigerian be respected and be given an opportunity to cast his or her vote without intimidation or coercion and once that vote is cast, let us uphold that vote”.
He recalled that since 1999, democratic elections in Nigeria have been conducted with varying degrees of violence, saying that the tension and anxiety around elections necessitated the setting up of the National Peace Committee whose mandate is to support peaceful election processes and cultivate a culture of peace.
In his remark, the Oba of Benin who was represented by Chief David Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin, thanked the convener of the meeting, especially General Abdulsalami Abubakar, for what they have been doing in recent times and particularly for coming to Benin at this time to assist in preaching peace and tranquility before, during and after the election.
He added that the monarch also thanked everyone that is interested in the peace of Edo State, adding that the monarch has been doing his best to see that prediction of violence and bloodshed does not come to pass in next Saturday’s election.