The Benin monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II has eulogized the National Peace Committee for their efforts towards peace building in Nigeria.
He specifically commended Nigeria former Head of State, General (Rted) and Chairman of the Committee, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Bishop Hassan Kukah for their selfless service to keep Nigeria’s unity and commitment towards a violent-free Governorship election in Edo State.
The traditional ruler made the submission when the pair paid him a courtesy visit at his palace on Tuesday in Benin City shortly after they led Fourteen Candidates seeking elective positions in Saturday Governorship election in Edo State signed a peace accord.
Oba Ewuare II, stressed that he was not surprised because of the pedigree of the Retired General considering the circumstance he emerged as Head of State of Nigeria and the pace he quickly organized the return of the country to Democratic Rule in 1999.
The monarch recalled that the political gladiators generated political tension to a worrisome violence dimension before they were called to order in peace meeting that brought peace to the polity.
The former Head of State, His Excellency, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, had thanked the Benin monarch for the initiative to hold peace meeting with the political gladiators in the state which set the ball rolling for their committee to take-off and progress on the peace drive.
Abubakar, informed the Oba that they had earlier attended a meeting organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for security agencies, Candidates of political parties and other Stakeholders in Benin City where they agreed to abide by the peace agreement ahead of the poll.
Recall that the Chairman of National Peace Committee was accompanied to the revered Oba of Benin’s palace by the Committee’s Secretary, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah amongst other members who charged eligible voters’ in Edo State to come out en-mass to vote for candidate of their choice on Saturday 19th September, 2020, that their votes will count.
Highlight of the courtesy visit was the presentation to His Excellency, General Abdulsalami Abubakar Rtd., and Chairman of the National Peace Committee of a Bronze cast of an Oba sitting in a traditional ceremonial position praying for peace.
Meanwhile, the Fourteen political parties and Candidates contesting in Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State on Tuesday, signed a peace accord with a pledge to eschew violence before, during and after the gubernatorial election in the State.
The Edo State Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Godwin Obaseki, shortly after signing the peace accord, urged eligible voters to come out en masse to vote for the PDP to enable him consolidate on his achievements in the first term, assuring of a peaceful and violence-free election in the state.
According to the governor, “To get all the contestants to sign a peace accord ahead of the election is to ensure that there is peace and a violence-free election in Edo State. Myself as a candidate and my party are fully committed to ensuring that we have peace and a violence-free election.
“In addition to being a candidate, I am also the Chief Security Officer of the state. I want to commit publicly once again that we are committed to peace in our dear state.”
“Let me appeal to this National Peace Committee to extend the same to some non-state actors in the state who have influenced the political space in the state. If you cannot reach out to them to sign a peace accord, persuade them on the importance of peace in our state,” Obaseki charged.
Chairman of the peace Committee, Abubakar, appealed to all eligible voters in Edo to desist from selling their votes but come out without fear to elect the candidate of their choice.
He said: “We have been assured by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, that the election will be free, fair and credible.
“He said that they are ready with all the necessary logistics and they will conduct a free election. Having heard that from the INEC boss, the rest is left for the voters to do what is right by desisting from selling your votes, thereby selling your rights, freedom and conscience.”
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had assured that “the police are fully on ground to ensure peace and tranquility before, during and after the election,” Abubakar noted.
The Co-convener of the Committee, Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, said: “The signing of the peace accord should not be seen as a mere ceremony. For me as a priest, I am seeing it as an exchange of vows and that you are committing yourselves. It’s a trust you have taken upon yourselves.
“We’ve come here to support you; we hope and pray that the days ahead will be peaceful, and that the election in the state will be free, fair and credible and also very peaceful. Our prayers and our hope is that this election will be one of the most peaceful elections conducted in Edo”.
On his part, Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, promised to stick with the letters of the peace accord both in principle and practice, before, during and after the election.