By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Ahead of the Ekiti governorship election on Saturday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured that the votes of the Ekiti people will count.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu gave the assurance on Wednesday at the signing of the Peace Accord by political parties and candidates for the Ekiti State Governorship election organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) held at the Amazing Grace Events Centre Ado- Ekiti.
In his remarks, the INEC boss reminded that the Peace Accord is not an automated, self-actualising process and therefore called on all political parties and candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the Accord by appealing to their supporters to maintain the peace before, during and after the elections. “This will be your own way of showing commitment to the Peace Accord and appreciation for the work of the Peace Committee”, he added.
In his words, “Since the Edo State Governorship election held in September 2020, followed by the Ondo State Governorship election in October 2020 and the Anambra State Governorship election in November 2021, political parties and candidates have signed the Peace Accord under the auspices of the National Peace Committee”.
“The intervention of the Peace Committee no doubt contributed in no small way to the peaceful conduct of previous Governorship elections. We are confident that the Ekiti State Governorship election holding this Saturday will not be different. Working with civil society organisations, the media, security agencies, traditional and religious institutions, and other stakeholders, INEC will continue to partner with the Peace Committee for peaceful elections in Nigeria.”
He therefore urged parties and candidates in Ekiti State to realise that without peace, the Commission’s deployment plans; new innovations in voter accreditation and result management; the safety of voters, election duty staff, observers and the journalists; security of materials; and, ultimately, the credibility of elections will be undermined. No credible election can be achieved in an atmosphere of disruption, violence and disorder. It is, therefore, important for everyone to maintain the peace, Mahmood said.
According to the electoral umpire, the success of the Peace Accord rests on three pedestals: the political actors, INEC and security agencies. Speaking for INEC, I wish to assure the Peace Committee of our commitment to transparent and credible elections. Working for the last 12 months since June 2021 when we released the Timetable for the Ekiti State Governorship election, it is inconceivable that INEC will undermine itself, especially on Election Day and beyond. I want to assure you all that the votes of the Ekiti people will count.
Mahmood expressed profound appreciation to the National Peace Committee (NPC) under the leadership of the respected former Head of State, His Excellency General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar GCFR, for convening the meeting, stressing that Nigerians will forever be grateful to the respected statesmen, traditional, religious and business leaders who are working in a voluntary and non-partisan way to promote peaceful elections in Nigeria.
“Today, we are honoured by the presence of the Convener of the NPC, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah. By its consistent engagement, the NPC has demonstrated that moral suasion is as important as statutory authority in promoting peace in our country.