As the December 5 governorship election in Bayelsa State draws nearer, Governor Seriake Dickson and 18 other governorship candidates with their party chairmen have signed a peace accord to ensure peaceful and violence-free election.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and incumbent Governor Dickson; former Governor Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Mr. Moses Siasia of the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, on Tuesday committed themselves to the peace accord at the Creek Motel in Yenagoa.
It was witnessed by the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, represented by INEC national commissioner representing North-West, Mrs. Amina Zakari, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nasiru Oki, state director of the Department of State Services, DSS, Ade Oluseso, state Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mr. Baritor Kpagih, traditional rulers and other stakeholders.
The INEC chairman in his address said the commission had closely monitored and followed the activities of the parties, candidates and supporters in pursuant to the mandate of the commission.
He noted that while the majority of activities and campaigns had been going on peacefully and in accordance with extant laws, rules and regulations, there had been reports and yet unsubstantiated allegations of breaches of peace.
On the significance of the accord, Yakubu said: “This peace pact is not the idea of INEC or the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP; it is the initiative with the support of the good people of Bayelsa State, and INEC is only the facilitator.
“We are not unmindful of the fact that the success of this peace accord, however, depends on the zeal and commitment of the signatories to see it work.”
He admonished the candidates to live up to their commitments and obligations to ensure its respect and enforcement.
Stressing further, he reiterated the resolve of the commission to remain resolute in providing a level playing ground, adding that the commission would be fair to all, apply the laws without fear or favour in accordance to the individual oath of office of the commission’s corporate mission statement.
In their separate remarks, Governor Dickson of and Chief Sylva while thanking INEC and the facilitators for the initiative, expressed their disapprovals to the waves of violence orchestrated by supporters of the contending parties.
They, however, reiterated their collective resolve and commitment to abide by the peace accord, and promised to sensitise their supporters and followers on the need for a peaceful and violence-free election.