Ini Billie, Uyo
Fifteen political parties in Akwa Ibom State have signed a peace accord ahead of the Saturday, gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections.
The parties present during the peace deal include the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) party, Young Progressives Party (YPP), Labour Party (LP), New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP), ACCORD, APGA, ZLP, PRP, APM, AA, ADP, AAC, SDP and BP.
The governorship candidates of all the major political parties were present at the event while the house of representative candidates’ accord was signed by their respective party chairmen.
Speaking before administering the pact at the State Police Command headquarters in Uyo, Commissioner of Police, Olatoye Durosinmi urged the candidates to warn their supporters against perpetuating violence or indulging in any form of thuggery, saying the police would not hesitate to fight anyone engaging in such act.
Durosinmi said the peace accord was aimed at promoting peace in all aspects and making candidates eschew inflammatory comments which could ignite violence before, during or after the elections.
The CP promised to ensure security during the March 18 elections and encouraged members of the public to come out en masse to vote for candidates of their choice without fear of molestation.
“I urge all the candidates to talk to your supporters, some of whom are overzealous. Tell them that election cannot be won by violence. Signing the peace accord is not enough but talking to your supporters to comport themselves during and after the polls.
“See the peace of Akwa Ibom State as paramount and beyond your personal interest, elections will come and go but the state will remain for us,” he stated.
Speaking, State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr Cyril Omorogbe, promised a level playing ground for all candidates, adding that INEC remains an “unbiased umpire for the elections.”
Omorogbe who was represented by the Administrative Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Ogbodu, assured that materials would arrive at the polling units on time.
In their separate remarks, the Gubernatorial candidates urged INEC to remain unbiased and deliver free, fair and credible elections unlike what happened during the February 25 Presidential elections.
They charged INEC to ensure the early arrival of election materials to different polling units as well as the transmission of election results.
Members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Elections Security (ICCES), comprising Service Commanders of all Security Agencies, and other Critical Stakeholders like INEC, NUJ, NBA, NMA, CLO, NLC, the NYSC, CAN, the Traditional Institutions, University Dons, local and international Observers and other Stakeholders were present at the event.