2019: Governor Emmanuel, others sign peace accord
By Ndifreke P. Akpan
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel has further demonstrated his commitment to a hitch free elections by appending his signature on the peace accord document for political parties and candidates participating in the forth coming elections.
The Governor signed the peace accord, alongside other gubernatorial candidates during a meeting at Ibom Hall, IBB Avenue, Uyo.
The peace meeting for a credible elections was organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Akwa Ibom State in collaboration with Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, ICCES.
The Committee, which has the State Commissioner of Police as Chairman, is made up of the Police, DSS, Army, Navy, Airforce, National Drug Law Enforcemnet Agency, Federal Road Safety Corps, Customs, Immigration and National Youth Sevice Corps.
Governor Emmanuel, who spoke with Journalists shortly after signing the peace accord, thanked the State INEC Commissioner, the Armed Forces and other Stakeholders who took responsibility to bring the process to bear.
He stated that no one who goes against the collective agreement, written and signed to ensure peace during the elections.
According to the Governor, “Election is a part of democratic process, we should allow it to be free, peaceful and credible. In this case, security agencies have a whole lot of role to play, because the blame is so much on politicians but politicians would not do anything if they do not have the support of security agencies.”
He expressed the hope that if all hands are on deck and all stakeholders resolve to have a very free, credible and peaceful elections, it can be achieved.
Governor Emmanuel urged the stakeholders to allow the interest of the country to be bigger than any private interest, noting that once an individual’s selfish interest is not given priority, people will be able to make significant progress as a nation.
Earlier in an address, the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini expressed the hope that both the letters and spirit of the peace accord would reflect in the actions or inactions of candidates and their supporters.
He enjoined the people to note that peace is the precondition for the kind of exercise the country was about to undertake, explaining that the duty of an umpire is to ensure an integrity-driven electoral process where votes will not only count but be taken into account in determining who becomes anything.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner promised never to surrender the core value of integrity, impartiality, neutrality and the team work required to conduct election without partisanship.
Mr Igini who said that INEC will do the right thing that will meet the legitimate expectations of the people, explained the electoral process to be adopted from the units to the ward and Local Government collation centres, among other things.
He stated the resolve to stand tall and mighty in defence of democracy and the rule of law, insisting that the people must be free to make a choice of who should lead them, even as he warned that no one should do anything that may lead to the destruction of life and property during the elections.
The Electoral Umpire said as at Wednesday, 6th February 2019, Two Million, One hundred and nineteen thousand, seven hundred and seven voters have registered in Akwa Ibom State.
He urged political parties to train their agents as the upcoming elections need people who will understand the procedures arising from the development of tools that are reputable for the sustenance of democracy by the electoral body.
In a welcome remark, the Chairman of ICCES who is the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State, represented by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Augustine Agbor, said the presence of candidates and political parties at the signing of peace accord gave the security agencies great Joy.
The Commissioner, speaking on behalf of other committee members, said they were aware of their role; which is to provide security to everyone and expressed the hope that those who signed the document would adhere to its provisions, while praying God for peace upon all stakeholders.
He assured that security personnel have been trained for the task ahead and noted that the signing of the peace accord was the beginning of success for the elections.
While giving words of advice, an elder statesman and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, who said he has never had doubts about the fact that free and fair election, form the bedrock of great democracy, expressed satisfaction with the signing of the peace accord.
Obong Attah acknowledged the widsom of the Sultan of Sokoto, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Hassan Kuka, former Military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, and others in initiating the peace process saying that they have done the country a world of favour by introducing sanity into the electoral system.
Obong Attah expressed satisfaction with the explanation given on how collation of election results will be done at different centres and appealed to the people not to create violence in order to ensure that those in position to lead are actually elected by the people to lead them.
The former Governor encouraged the stakeholders to be sincere with the signing of the peace accord, which he described as their covenant with the people and the electoral process, even as he enjoined INEC to also strive to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
He however expressed confidence in the State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, whom he knows, having followed INEC for a long time and expressed belief in the electoral process earlier enumerated by INEC Boss saying that if they stick to it, the State will have Free, Fair and Credible elections.
Similarly, the Paramount Ruler of Ibesikpo Asutan L.G.A, HRM, Edidem Clement Ekpenyong 111, warned against anything that may lead to the loss of life saying that elections is not worth the blood of any human being.
The Paramount Ruler advised politicians to play by the rule, called for one man, one vote and encouraged the electorate to vote for candidates of their choice.
The Gubernatorial candidate of the PDP, ADC, AAP, PPN, Democratic Alternative and Democratic Alliance, endorsed the peace deal while those who could not make it were asked to visit INEC Headquarters in Uyo to sign the peace accord.
Government Officials, the Political Class, Non Governmental Organisations, the Media and other critical Stakeholders witnessed the event.