The peace accord meeting organised by the National Peace Committee in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, ahead of the November 11 gubernatorial election in the state saw several notable candidates absent.
Notably, Governor Hope Uzodimma, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, as well as Athan Achonu of the Labour Party, Tony Ejiogu of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and Ben Odunze of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), were all conspicuously missing.
Samuel Anyanwu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, arrived but left after realising that the major political parties’ candidates were not in attendance.
Uzodimma, Achonu, and Anyanwu were represented by their running mates, yet the organizers of the event did not permit proxy signatures, insisting on the presence of the actual candidates.
On the other hand, the chairmen of the APC and Labour Party signed the peace documents. Several other candidates, including Bright Ekwebelem of the Social Democratic Party, Steve Nwoga of the Action Democratic Party, Jack Ogunewe of the Action Alliance, and others, were present and signed the accord.
Chinyere Ekomaru, Uzodinma’s running mate, left when she was unable to sign after her party chairman signed on behalf of the APC candidate. Similarly, Tony Nwulu, the running mate of Athan Achonu, was not allowed to sign on behalf of the Labour Party candidate, and instead, the party chairman, Callistus Ihejiagwa, signed.
Jones Onyereri, the PDP candidate’s running mate, also faced a similar situation, being unable to sign the peace accord document. The PDP state chairman, Charles Ugwu, was absent from the event. It was later announced that the candidates who missed the ceremony could sign the documents at the state commissioner of police’s office on Thursday.
Onyereri, the PDP running mate, explained that their candidate left due to other commitments, urging the Independent National Electoral Commission not to compromise the electoral process, as it would undermine the significance of the peace accord.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Frank Mba, responsible for the election in the state, and other senior security personnel were present, with a substantial presence of security agents at the ceremony.