Violence,part of elections since 1999 –Abdusalami Abubakar —
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Violence,part of elections since 1999 –Abdusalami Abubakar

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FORMER Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has stated that ever since the return of the country to democracy in 1999, every election has witnessed violence.
Abubakar, who made the disclosure during the signing of a Peace Accord by political parties yesterday ahead of the governorship election in Edo State slated for September 19, added that this had led to the establishment of the National Peace Committee, NPC, as a way of curbing the ugly trend.
According to the elder statesman, the series of violence that have characterised the electoral process gave birth to NPC in 2014 to ensure a peaceful transition which eventually contributed to the success of the 2015 election.
“As we are all aware, election cannot be conducted in the absence of a peaceful environment, NPC is in Edo today to support this process and to encourage the candidates.
“By agreeing to sign this peace pact, it means all of you are showing commitment to peace in Edo State and Nigeria. We should use this election as a test for future elections,” he added.
Abubakar posited that violation of the accord means that politicians are putting their integrity on the line.
Meanwhile, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto and the Co-convener of NPC, Matthew Hassan Kukah, urged politicians not to see the signing of the peace accord as a mere ceremony.
Kukah added that the exercise is a commitment that they are making to the whole world.
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,Prof. MahmoodYakubu, maintained that it is gratifying to note that respected statesmen including traditional rulers, as well as religious and business leaders, are working in a voluntary and non-partisan way not only for peaceful elections for the consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy in particular, but also for peace in general.
He said NPC has demonstrated that so much can be achieved in nation-building by the force of moral rather than statutory authority and that INEC, working with civil society organisations and other stakeholders, will continue to support the good work of the committee.
“Today, political parties and candidates contesting in the Edo governorship election holding on Saturday are signing an accord to affirm, respect, support, promote and commit to the principles of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. We welcome this initiative. Our preparations, deployment plans, new innovations in result management, safety of personnel, security of materials and, above all, the credibility of elections are all negatively affected by violence or malpractices.
“I wish to assure you of INEC’s commitment to credible elections, votes will count, the people of Edo State will determine who becomes their next governor and their choice will be upheld. Let me also reassure you and the voters in Edo State of the commission’s neutrality,” he added.

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