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Edo poll: Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu, others sign peace accord

...candidates urged to use election as reference point for future polls

Edo State governor and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Godwin Obaseki, his main challenger, Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and other governorship candidates in Saturday’s Edo governorship election on Tuesday pledged to embrace peace irrespective of the outcome of the election.

The candidates made the pledge at the signing of peace accord organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) which took place at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre in Benin City.

Addressing contestants, the chairman of NPC, Abdulsalami Abubakar, urged all stakeholders to commit to the spirit of the accord.

The former head of state, who urged the candidates to use the Edo election as a test for future election in the country, called on the electorate to cast their votes in the September 19 governorship election without fear of intimidation or coercion.

He explained that those who signed the peace accord have committed themselves to ensuring peace in Edo State and Nigeria at large before, during and after the election.

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“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.

“In 2014, the committee conveyed efforts to support peaceful election as well as ensuring a peaceful transition. The intervention of the committee contributed immensely to the success of the 2015 election. The NPC has since successfully intervened in the general election to ensure a peaceful outcome to the 2019 general election.

“The governorship election in Edo 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 Edo 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.

“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.

“We, therefore, call on everyone to work towards peaceful election to ensure peace reign during and after the election,” he said.

In his remarks, Obaseki appealed to the committee to extend the accord to other actors who have influence in the political space so as to ensure that the exercise is complete.

Obaseki, who restated his commitment to ensuring peaceful poll, added that he would lead by example. “I am grateful to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Police and the Oba of Benin. Today, we agree that a unique type of history has been made in Edo State where all contestants sign the peace accord for a violence-free election. As the Chief Security Officer, I have no choice than to ensure peace reigns,” Obaseki said.

On his part, Ize-Iyamu promised to talk to his supporters to conduct themselves well in a bid to achieve a peaceful poll.

“We are grateful to the peace committee, INEC and the police. We are also grateful to the Oba of Benin because what we are witnessing today was actually initiated a few weeks ago,” he said.

Earlier, the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the assistance in ensuring peaceful poll in Edo.

The monarch, who was represented by the Esogban of Benin, Solomon Edebiri, appealed to Edo sons to shun violence, noting that when two people contest, only one emerges as the winner.

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