The National Peace Committee (NPC) has appealed to the residents of Ekiti to choose peace over violence in the coming governorship election in the state.
Chairman of the committee and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, made the appeal in a statement barely a week to the Election Day.
He urged the people to come out without fear, but with hope to exercise their franchise and vote to deepen the democratic process in the state.
General Abdulsalami also advised the youths not to make themselves pawns in the hands of the political class but should be aware that the security, stability, and future of Nigeria remain their common patrimony.
He urged everyone taking part in the election to follow due process, conduct themselves with civility and patriotism, and ensure they do not take the laws into their hands no matter the grievances they may hold against individuals and other stakeholders in the poll.
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The NPC chairman reminded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, and others that Nigerians and the world were monitoring them as they expect a level-playing field for all parties.
According to him, the conduct and peaceful outcome of the Ekiti State off-cycle election will put to test all the claims of reforms and strategic policy implementations of the last four years.
General Abdulsalami also believes the governorship election will offer an opportunity to assess how the 2023 elections will span out.
He disclosed that the various political parties and stakeholders in the election would sign a peace accord on Wednesday in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
Read the full statement below:
With the Ekiti State off-cycle governorship elections scheduled for June 18, 2022, the good people of Ekiti are once again called upon to step out without fear, but with hope to exercise their franchise and vote to deepen the democratic process in Ekiti.
With general elections months away, and despite the spike in violence across the country, the Ekiti State governorship elections offer a glimmer of hope and a window of opportunity to assess how the 2023 elections will span out. Consequently, the National Peace Committee (NPC) would like to make the following observations:
1: The commitment of the people of Ekiti to democratic ideals and the tenacity of ordinary Nigerians in support of our democracy and its processes, must be applauded in all its ramifications. In the run-up to the Ekiti governorship elections, the people of Ekiti are the ones mobilised to attend the rallies, and on election day, they will most certainly abandon their means of livelihood, line up for hours at polling units, often under harsh weather conditions, with no absolute guarantee for the safety of their lives.
Yet, they will patiently wait and vote with hope that things will be better and that their living conditions will at least improve. They carry the hope of generations yet unborn. This set of voters, not just in Ekiti but across the country, are the real custodians of democracy. Their willingness to step out and vote despite the disappointments that seem to accompany previous elections indicates that democracy in all its limitations has been accepted as the best form of government for Nigeria.
2: We are aware that the 2023 election may not be the best – as can be attested to by the monetisation of the process, the acrimonious conduct of the recent party primaries, and the elevation of the ‘delegate position’ over and above the welfare of ordinary Nigerians. We urge all the people taking part in the Ekiti state governorship to follow due process, and conduct themselves with civility and patriotism.
They should not take the laws into their hands – no matter the grievances they may hold against individuals, against the state, or against electoral bodies or security agencies. The NPC also wishes to announce that a peace accord will be signed by the various political parties and stakeholders on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Amazing Grace Events Hall, Ikokun, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
3: In particular, we call on our youths not to make themselves pawns in the political chessboard of the political class. The youths must realise that the security, stability, and future of Nigeria remain their common patrimony. They must make themselves available to become ambassadors of peace, retain hope in Nigeria and support the democratic process in Ekiti state, and Nigeria in general.
4: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, and the political candidates in the Ekiti State governorship elections should know that the eyes of Nigerians, and indeed the world, are on them. The conduct and peaceful outcome of the Ekiti State off-cycle elections will put to test all the claims of reforms and strategic policy implementations of the last four years. We expect that a level playing field should be provided for all contestants – irrespective of the party under which they are contesting.
We call on INEC and the security agencies not only to be non-partisan in the discharge of their duties but also to be seen to be so. We equally call on INEC to ensure inclusivity, facilitating an electoral exercise where people do not in any way experience disenfranchisement as a result of their gender, religious or ethnic affiliations, and/or disability. We also urge the contestants to approach the elections in a true spirit of sportsmanship.
5: We urge the media, including social media, to be alert to their responsibilities and eschew reportages that will further inflame passions (including forwarding sensational write-ups, fake news, and ‘alternative facts’). In the final analysis, if Ekiti state is up in flames, we will all feel the heat – just like we will all partake in its peaceful dividends if we resolve to first and foremost vote for peace irrespective of our different political inclinations.
Consequently, we urge all stakeholders to eschew violent rhetoric and actions before, during, and after the election so that Ekiti State will emerge from the electoral process much stronger, living up to its name as the “Land of Honour and Integrity”.
General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, GCFR,