The Police Authority, Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders have enjoined governorship candidates and members of the various registered political parties to ensure peace during and after the conduct of the 2023 general elections in Oyo state.
The advice was given during the signing of a Peace Accord held at State Police Command, Eleyele Ibadan on Friday.
The meeting had in attendance 15 out of 18 governorship candidates of the INEC registered political parties including the incumbent governor Engineer Seyi Makinde of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Adebayo Adelabu of ACCORD, and Chief Poju Joshua of New Nigeria People’s Party, (NNPP) is aimed at fostering unity among the candidates jostling for various elective offices, as well ensure peace during and after the conduct of 2023 general elections.
In his address, the state Commissioner of Police, Adebowale Williams decried recently reported cases of political violence, especially the destruction of campaign billboards in some parts of the state.
He advised the candidates to guide against utterances that are capable of igniting crises in the state, adding that Oyo state is known for peace
According to him, “As we navigate towards the general elections, there is the need for repeated emphasis on a peaceful electioneering process before, during and after the exercise. The parties, their candidates and their supporters are therefore enjoined to be guided by the guidelines for political rallies recently released by INEC.
‘The command and indeed the security space is concerned about the disturbing extremities and desperation displayed by some Political Gladiators.
Recently, Oyo state witnessed needless destruction of billboards and defacing of posters of opposing aspirants to stir up provocations and bloody reprisals but for the prompt intervention of security operatives.
“Hence, the need to reach out to leaders wielding diverse degrees of influence within and outside Oyo state was inevitable for the purposes of guidance and preservation of the State’s relative peace from agents of anarchy and mischief.
‘As we witness the signing of the Peace Accord agreement as a Family, it is indeed our desire that this process would; encourage issue-based campaigns at all levels; void of religious, ethnic and tribal incitement by political actors or their supporters acting in the capacity of their principal.
The convener of the meeting and representative of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Rasidi Ladoja reminded respective governorship candidates that the election is not all about war.
He stressed the need for the governorship candidates and their respective followers to eschew violence during electioneering.
According to him, “We have been living together as brothers. The election should not be separate. We should have it at the back of our minds that after any contest only one winner will emerge.
“We should endeavour to preach messages of peace and love to our brothers. We should refrain from any act capable of turning the state into a theatre of war.”
Also speaking at the occasion the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Rahmon Adeniran Tella reminded the contestants that to emerge winner in any election depends on the number of votes but it is sad to note that 743,693 Permanent Voter Cards are awaiting collection at its various offices in the state.
He, therefore, stressed the need for the leadership of the various political parties to sensitize their members on the need to have their PVCs before the conduct of the 2023 general elections
He also advised them to remain civil and be devoid of abusive language without any rancour in all campaign activities.
There is a need to abstain from slogans tainted with abusive language directly or indirectly or one that is likely to injure religious, ethnic or sectional feelings.
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