As part of efforts to ensure a free and fair election during Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State, candidates participating in the exercise have signed a peace accord in reiterating their commitment to democracy and democratic tenets.
Those who put pen to paper include incumbent Governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, the embattled Deputy Governor and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) candidate, Agboola Ajayi, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, and thirteen other candidates.
Those present at the Peace Accord facilitated by the National Peace Committee (NPC) include National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, Sultan of Sokoto, Abukabar Saa’d, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Kukah, former Bishop of Abuja Diocese, John Onaiyekan.
Others include the state’s Chairman, Council of Obas, Fedrick Akinruntan, the Deji of Akure, Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo among other traditional rulers and religious leaders across the state.
Speaking during the event on Tuesday in Akure, the Ondo state capital, the NPC Chairman, former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, said that the tension associated with elections in Nigeria necessitated the exercise in keeping candidates on the right track and eliminate bloody politics.
Abubakar, who joined the session via Zoom, said that the peace accord was to bind candidates to support peaceful election process and enthrone culture of peace, adding that it was pertinet for voters to feel secure while voting their choiced leaders.
“The tension and anxiety associated with election necessitated the setup of the National Peace Committee which is to support peaceful election process and enthrone culture of peace. Those who signed the peace accord have committed themselves to ensure peace in Ondo State and Nigeria at large before, during, and after the election.
“The governorship election in Ondo State is only a few days away and we want peace during and after the election. We want to see Nigeria as a place where people come out peacefully and vote during the election without deprivation and Ondo State deserves this. As you are aware, the election will not come without a peaceful atmosphere, and most importantly disharmony among political parties hinders developmental efforts,” he said.
“As we go into the election, we have been given assurance by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that they will conduct a free, fair and credible election. The rest is left for the voters to do what is right.
On his part, INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, hinted that the commission has met 12 of the necessary steps for the smooth conduct of the election, and that other measures are being concluded to ensure peacful election.
While taking turns to speak, the major candidates, Akeredolu, Ajayi, and Jegede promised to abide by the rules guiding the election, adding that they would imbibe spirit of sportmanships and accept outcome of the poll.