Politics

General Abubakar, Kukah, Others To Storm Edo For Peace Accord

FILE PHOTO: Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, President Muhammadu Buhari and Chairman, National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.) at the signing of the Peace Accord in Abuja

Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, the National Peace Committee would be visiting Benin, the state capital to commit all the fourteen governorship candidates to a peace accord.

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure on Thursday in Benin.

The occasion was the interactive session between the INEC and Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on election security.

The National Peace Committee was formed in 2014 as a Non-Governmental organisation in response to emerging threats to national security and peaceful coexistence occasioned by 2015 general elections.

Four years after, Presidential candidates of political parties were made to sign similar peace accord before the 2019 general elections.

The Committee has a former military head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe and current Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Mathew Kukah as leading figures.

The INEC chairman who noted that it would be the first time since its inception that the NPC would be engaging governorship candidates further revealed that the duo of General Abubakar and Kukah would be in Benin to supervise the signing of the peace agreement by the governorship candidates.

He said: “We have been receiving reports of the security situation in Edo State and it is part of what we are going to discuss with members of ICCES. The environment ought to be secured for the Commission to conduct the election. We are taking every step to ensure that the environment is very conducive for us to conduct the election. I trust that security agencies are fully prepared to deal with potential problem areas.

“We are also in touch with the Office of the National Peace Committee chaired by the respectful former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and there is a plan to sign the peace accord in Benin closer to the election.

“The National Peace Committee engages political parties at the national level but for the first time, given the significance of the election we are conducting in Edo State, the National Committee is coming down to Benin to ensure that all parties and all aspirants are committed to a peaceful process.”

Professor Yakubu said his visit to Edo State was to take first had information on security agencies’ preparation for the election and equally observe his Commission readiness.

“We are here essentially to meet with members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security and also meet with our own of INEC. Tomorrow, I am going to speak to all the Electoral Officers in all the 18 Local Government Areas of the State and I will also visit some of our Local Government Offices.

“The whole purpose is for us to supervise and see first hand the level of preparations so far before the election. We have been receiving reports at the headquarters but we thought that it’s important to come down to Benin and see for ourselves what is truly on the ground. In terms of readiness, we are ready for this election. We have come with the policy to conduct the election in COVID-19. We test run the policy in a small election in Nasarawa State and now we are ready with the big one which is the Edo governorship election.”

In his presentation, Edo State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo said security agencies were working round the clock to ensure peaceful conduct of the election.

He said: “On security arrangement for Edo guber 2020, I am to say on behalf of security services in Edo State that we are prepared to address the issue of election security in Edo State from the lands, water and the air. Every training arrangements have been made. INEC has arranged for the training of security personnel that will participate in election duties. It has commenced for some time and it is still ongoing.”

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