Barely 72 hours to the Osun governorship election, Governor of the State and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adegboyega Oyetola, has signed a Peace Pact to ensure peaceful and transparent electoral process.
Candidates of other political parties participating in the election also signed the peace accord which was organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Speaking after signing the pact on Wednesday in Osogbo, Governor Oyetola reiterated his commitment to a free, fair and peaceful election, emphasising that sustainability of the enviable status of Osun as the most peaceful State in the country remains non-negotiable.
According to the Governor, election is a process to elect leaders and not to foment trouble hence the need for all, particularly the political gladiators and parties to play the game according to the rules.
“I must acknowledge the status of Osun as the most peaceful State in the country. From three and a half years now, apart from the national protests that spilled here, we have never witnessed any civil unrest, worker’s strike or protest from students.
“I want to reassure our commitment to protect and preserve the enviable status of Osun as the most peaceful State in the country. The concern is just on the resort to violence by one of the parties including issuing of threat messages by their governorship flag bearer and their candidate for Osun West senatorial and House of Representatives candidate in Ijesa.
“I am again reiterating my commitment to a democratic, united and prosperous Osun that works for all. We have treasured peace in all our engagements. We have been doing our campaigns in a peaceful and orderly manner and we promise to maintain this feat. I am appealing to other contestants to play by the rules.
“For me, I will do everything and anything to ensure we have a violence-free, fair, credible and transparent election this Saturday by the grace of God, and we shall ensure peace reigns supreme in our dear State before, during and after the election”, he said.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, appealed to the political parties and their candidates to adhere to the spirit of the Peace Accord.
He reiterated the Commission’s readiness to ensure a hitch-free, fair, credible, transparent and acceptable election in the State, saying all hands must be on deck to achieve the desired results.
“We reiterate our commitment to a peaceful, free, fair, credible and transparent election. Without peace, our development plans, recent voter’s accreditation, logistics arrangements among others will be undermined. I want to appeal to the political parties to ensure peace.
“Play according to the rule of the game. Avoid violence. Violence begets violence, peace begets peace. Abide by the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord. We look forward to having a peaceful election in Osun State,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of traditional rulers in the State, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi assured of the monarchs’ commitment to ensuring peace within and outside their respective domains before, during and after the exercise.
“As traditional rulers, we will ensure that we keep our communities and localities safe. We appeal to the security agencies and other concerned authorities to support us in this collective quest to have a peaceful election as we are committed to continue to uphold the spirit of security, peace, unity and progress,” he said.
Also speaking, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, who was represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Johnson Babatunde Kokumo called on the contestants to play the game according to the rules.
“I am here to coordinate the security architecture for Osun Governorship Election. Nigeria Police is in collaboration and synergy with sister agencies and of course all other security agencies to ensure that we create an enabling environment for a peaceful, fair, free, credible election.
“We did it in Ekiti successfully, and we are not only going to replicate that in Osun but to improve on it for posterity to judge. We will provide a level playing ground for all. I just want you to go by the rule, eschew violence, crisis and things capable of undermining the process.
“Parents should not allow their children to be used by unscrupulous politicians to foment trouble. We will do everything within our power to ensure that there is an atmosphere of peace. What is popular now is vote buying, we want you to provide information for us in that regard so as to act immediately.
“It is unfortunate that vote buying was done in topmost secrecy. But we will not rest on our oars to ensure that the buyers and sellers are taken off the streets,” he added.