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Anambra poll: Governorship candidates sign peace accord


*We shall be neutral, say Police, as Gen. Abubakar urges peace

*State Govt reassures citizens of safety, says no need to panic

Candidates in the Anambra State governorship election on Thursday signed a peace accord in Awka, the state capital.

The election is slated for tomorrow, November 6, 2021.

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, was present at the ceremony, which was facilitated by the National Peace Committee.

The NPC is chaired by former military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress, Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Ifeanyi Uba of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) were among the signees on Thursday, according to a signature sheet.

Others were Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party, Godwin Maduka of the Accord Party (AP), Etiaba Chukwuogo of the Action Alliance (AA), Nwankwo Chidozie of the African Action Congress (AAC), Onyejegbu Okwudili of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Ohajimkpo Emeka of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Ezenwafor Victor of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Nnamdi Nwawuo of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Uzo Godwin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Okonkwo Francis of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

The accord is binding on the candidate’s political parties and is expected to encourage signees to take proactive steps “towards ensuring a conducive environment for the conduct of a credible electoral process.”

The signees also pledged to “fully abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to respect the rules and regulations as laid down in the Legal Framework for Elections in Nigeria, and to adhere to best international standards.”

Under the accord, the candidates and their parties are expected to “support all institutions of government involved in conducting or securing the elections – in particular INEC and the security forces – to act with professionalism, impartiality and transparency.”

They are also to “encourage state agencies, institutions and public officers not to support partisan interests in any form” and to “encourage their political stalwarts and supporters to desist from propagating fake news and publishing fake results via social media and to ensure uninterrupted and uncompromised freedom of expression and information, both online and offline, throughout the electoral process.”

The accord demands of the signees to “respect that the results can only be announced by INEC, and to accept the outcome of the vote, as long as it is adjudged to be free, fair and credible, devoid of intimidation and conducted in accordance with the provisions of the law.”

Meanwhile, the Police on Thursday said it would be neutral in carrying out its duties in Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State.

Head of Police Election Duty in Anambra State, DIG Zaki Ahmed, said this at an interactive session with the civil societies and media in Awka.

According to him, the police shall provide an enabling environment for all parties and the electorate to freely go out and take part in the election.

He also assured election observers and the media of adequate security to enable them to monitor the poll.

Ahmed said the police were ready for the election with security commands at the 21 local government areas.

He said that intervention squads had also been put in place to respond to emergencies anywhere in the state.

He described the allegation that the police were planning to arrest some state government officials as ‘fake news’.

Ahmed said that Anambra would be totally locked down from 11.59 p.m. on Friday to 11. 59 p.m. on Saturday.

“I call on the media and observers to collaborate with the police to work for a peaceful election in Anambra,” he said.

The Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, urged the media to help check fake news, which could inflame the society.

Mba advised journalists to “fact check information before sending them out”.

However, former Head of State and Chairman National Peace Committee, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, has called on the people of Anambra State to maintain peace to ensure success in the November 6 Governorship Election.

Abubakar, in company with the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, gave the charge in an interview with newsmen after a visit to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Government House, Asaba, on Thursday.

He said that they were returning from Awka, capital city of Anambra State, after signing a peace accord with governorship candidates for the election.

He charged the people to maintain peace, knowing that there could only be a winner at a time.

“Bishop Matthew Kukah and I are coming from Awka. You know that Saturday is the Governorship election in Anambra, and in our duty as the National Peace Committee, we went there to sign a peace accord with the contestants.

“As we always say, there must be peace because if there is no peace, there will be no country, there will be no state and there will be no election.

“So, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that there is peace and for the contestants, they must know that there can only be a winner.

“And they must take the outcome of the election in good faith if the election is free and fair they must accept the result.

“If they have any misgiving, there are channels in the courts to seek redress.

“So my appeal to the people of Anambra is to come out and vote for the candidate of their choice and for the candidates to accept the outcome of Saturday’s election if it is free and fair,” Abubakar said.

Also, Mr. C Don Adinuba, Anambra Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, has called on the public never to panic about buses coming from outside Anambra and its occupants.

Adinuba made the call in a press release he signed and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Thursday.

He said that the attention of the state government was drawn to the fearful expression shown by the residents following the arrival of buses from different parts of Anambra in the last few days.

“Millions of people of Anambra have been expressing anxiety about the mission of the buses entering the state and the thousands of their passengers.

“A lot of our people suspect the mission of these people, given the governorship election of the state, slated on Saturday, November 6.

“We want to assure Anambra people that there is no need to panic over the arrival of these buses and their passengers.

“These are buses bringing in security agents from different parts of the country to ensure that the gubernatorial election is peaceful, free and fair and bloodless.

“The security forces are in Anambra to protect our people to enable them to vote without intimidation and fear and to enable them to go about their legitimate businesses,” he said.

Adinuba enjoined the people to cooperate with the security agents as much as they can though the government is not unaware that some candidates are desperate to unleash violence and consequently rig the election.

“Election rigging is very difficult this time with the new technology employed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which recognises the face and fingerprint of every legitimate voter, rigging is impossible.

He urged all eligible voters in Anambra to come out in their numbers and vote for their candidate on Saturday, Nov. 6, in a peaceful environment.

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Ada Ada

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