“So, it is absolutely right for every voter to come out to ensure that they vote for the candidate of their choice so that we get the right people to represent us.”
At least 18 political parties taking part in Saturday’s Governorship poll in Imo have signed a peace accord to eschew violence before, during and after the exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the peace accord was facilitated by the National Peace Committee (NPC).
In a remark, former Head of State and Chairman of the Committee, Abdulsalami Abubakar, appealed to the Imo electorate to turn out en masse to elect a governor of their choice.
Mr Abubakar said in a recorded video, which was played at the venue, that the people would have no right to complain if the elected people “do the rubbish they do in governance.”
“So, it is absolutely right for every voter to come out to ensure that they vote for the candidate of their choice so that we get the right people to represent us,” he said.
He further urged youths to avoid being used as vanguards of electoral violence “because, in the long run, it is you, the youth or the people who would have been used to cause pain and sorrow in society.”
Mr Abubakar, who also advised security agencies not to intimidate voters, appealed to INEC and its officials to show sincerity in conducting free and credible polls in the state.
Also, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, commended NPC for sustaining its support toward promoting peaceful election and democracy in Nigeria.
Mr Yakubu solicited the support of security agencies, political parties and candidates for the peace accord to succeed.
“I will like to reaffirm the commission’s commitment to only credible and transparent elections.
“The commission has done everything possible to ensure that Saturday’s elections are credible
“It is not enough to sign the peace accord, what is important is to apply its letters and spirit,” the INEC boss said.
NAN also reports that Mr Yakubu was represented by the commission’s National Commissioner in charge of the South-East, Mr Kenneth Ukeagu.
In a speech, the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, represented by DIG Frank Mba, commended NPC for conceptualising and institutionalising the peace accord.
Mr Egbetokun described the signing of the peace accord as an important part of the electoral component, particularly given the violence associated with elections in the past.
He said: “On our part, as peace officers, we pledge our commitment to peace and security around the elections.
“We have done 80 per cent of our deployment.
“We have about 20 per cent, which we will complete within 24 hours.
“We assure voters in Imo that our deployment is not intended to intimidate voters but reassure them of a safe and secure environment for them to exercise their franchise.
“We pledge in this election to be politically neutral to provide a level playing field for all politicians, citizens and voters,” Mr Egbetokun said.
He assured the people that the security personnel deployed for the poll would remain non-ally.
According to him, our interest is the peaceful conduct of the election and we will do everything within the ambit of the law to protect and defend the electoral space for everyone.
He further urged politicians, who signed the peace accord, to take their commitment seriously.
Speaking on behalf of the political parties and candidates, the state Chairman of the Inter-party Advisory Council, Mr Levi Ekeh, underscored the importance of the signing of the accord to ensure peace and harmony during the election.