Edo 2020: Your integrity at stake – Abdulsalami tells Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu
Former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar says the integrity of the two leading candidates, Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, would be put to the test during Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Edo State.
He spoke during the signing of a peace accord for the election on Tuesday, warning that violence during the polls could attract grave consequences.
The Herald can report that Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu and 12 other candidates as well as their party chairmen signed the peace accord at the Oba Akenzua II Cultural Centre, Benin City.
The peace accord was supervised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) headed by Abdulsalami.
Abdulsalami charged the two gladiators and others to call their supporters to order to enable the election go rancour-free.
The former Nigerian leader expressed concern that tension has gripped the state ahead of the poll, and thanked the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, for his role in dousing the tension.
Abdulsalami emphasised the importance of the candidates accepting the result of a free and fair election.
He equally urged the electorate not to sell their votes, equating doing so to mortgaging their future.
“In 2014, the committee commenced efforts to support free, fair and credible elections and to ensure peaceful transition. The intervention of the committee contributed immensely to the success of the 2015 elections. The NPC has since 2015 successfully intervened in the general elections to ensure a peaceful outcome, right after the just past 2019 general elections.
“The governorship election in Edo State is just a few days away and giving peace during and after the election is a priority and it must be done. We as a people should aspire to see Nigeria where people feel safe to come out of their homes to cast their votes without any fear.
“The election cannot hold in the absence of a peaceful atmosphere, more importantly disharmony among political parties. All contesting parties need to adopt a code of conduct that will remove confrontation among them.
“The NPC is in Edo State today (Tuesday) to support this process, not just the signing of the peace accord by al candidates, but to also encourage you all to accept the outcome of the election, no matter the result.
“By agreeing to sign this covenant of peace, all of you are committing yourselves to ensure an enduring peace in Nigeria and Edo State before, during and after the election and agreeing to look beyond short term political gains, sectoral interests or narrow party advantage and accepting nothing, but for the development of Edo State.
“I urge all of us to use the process of election in Edo State as a test of future elections, as reiterated by President Muhammadu Buhari. Let every Nigerian be respected and be given an opportunity cast his or her vote, without intimidation or coercion and once that vote is cast, let us applaud that vote.
“I ask all the stakeholders and key people here present to commit to the spirit of this accord, while also remembering that the violators of this accord are putting their integrity on line, because you are signing this as ladies and gentlemen who are to be taken for your words,” Abdulsalami stated.
Reacting, Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu vowed to conduct themselves peaceably and prevail on their supporters to show decorum.
Other prominent Nigerians at the event were the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan-Kukah; Oba Ewuare II, who was represented by Chief David Edebiri, and Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.