The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed its optimism of peaceful conduct of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
The commission disclosed that it will organise a peace accord for the 14 political parties participating in the governorship elections.
Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, stated this during a webinar on Edo and Ondo elections, organised by Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of International Press Centre and Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria.
Speaking on the theme of the event ‘Edo/Ondo elections: The Imperative of Safety Consciousness and Conflict Sensitivity in Media Coverage and Reportage’, Arogundade reminded journalists their critical role during elections which is to relay the information that citizens will require to make informed choices.
“It is a duty we must not abdicate but which we have to undertake with the utmost sense of professional responsibility so as to set the appropriate pubic interest agenda as far as elections in Edo and Ondo states are concerned,” he stated.
On his part, Oyekanmi who expressed concern over the loud drumbeats of war ahead of the polls, was hopeful that with the intervention of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II and the proposed peace accord which the 14 political parties would sign, the election would be conducted peacefully.
“As we approach the Edo governorship election, it is clear that the people of the state and Nigerians as a whole are very concerned about what will happen on election day. We have all been hearing the loud drumbeats of war from political actors. There have been accusations and counter accusations. Just like everybody else, the commission is deeply concerned,” he said.
“On proactive measures taken by the commission to address security concerns, consultations with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on election security are on-going. About two weeks ago, the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu led a delegation to meet with the Oba of Benin to ask him to intervene and appeal to political actors to allow a peaceful election.
“The respected monarch promised to invite them to his palace for interaction and he has already done so. Plans have also been concluded for all the 14 political parties participating in the election to sign a peace accord in the coming days. With all these efforts, it is our hope that the election will be held peacefully.”