By Efa Sunday and Deborah Obot
Governorship candidates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress, Senator Ben Ayade and Senator John Owan-Enoh were on Friday absent as SDP governorship candidate, Barrister Eyo Ekpo joined other forty-three aspirants to sign a Peace Accord.
The forty six members appended their signatures on the Peace Accord Form during a stakeholders’ meeting organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which took place at the Mike Igini Hall, INEC Headquarter, Calabar.
In his speech, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Frankland Briyai said the peace accord is to avail all aspirants across all the political parties in the state, the much needed opportunity to embrace peace at all cost in order to have a violence-free election.
He said; “Well we are gathered here today to make sure that the conduct of the 2019 forthcoming election is devoid of violence, and that peace will be embraced by all and that same peace will be preached to our various supporters.”
The REC who reiterated the readiness of INEC to the conduct a credible, free and fair poll also stated that the cooperation of the parties candidates and supporters is needed to achieve their aim.
“Though on the part of INEC, we are more than ready to make sure that this election will be free and fair, but we know that we can’t do it alone. We need the total support of all the political parties and their aspirants across the states to help us make sure that what we set to achieve at the end of the day is achieved.
“As you all know that I am one person that loves peace and I preach it everywhere I go and so is the Commission, INEC. We are also working hand-in-hand with the security operatives that no issue of violence will be raised all through the period of this election, or at least reduced to the bearest minimum.” Dr. Frankland said.
Towards the peak of the event, the Social Democratic Party Governorship aspirant, Eyo Ekpo raised concerns over the urgency of the contractile agreement and it’s signing stating that close attention had not been paid into it.
Mr. Briyai while responding faulted the SDP candidate, adding that copies of the agreement had been sent to all party National Headquarters before the event was schedule, a development which Mr. Ekpo said he wasn’t briefed on.
In the same vien, the State Commissioner of Police, CP Hafiz Inuwa on his part, called on all party faithfuls to eschew violence and embrace peace, averring that “if every supporters of yours know that our principal does not want fighting, bloodshed or even snatching of Ballot boxes, they will definitely desist from participating in such nefarious activities.”
CP Inuwa also appealed to aspirants who are in possession of fire arms to avail themselves the ‘Voluntary Arms Return Window’ opportunity to drop every weapon or fire arm on them and their supporters, warning that whoever is caught after the deadline with arms will be made to face the wrath of the law.
Climax of the events was the signing of the Peace Accord Agreement by all the aspirants from all the political parties, except the candidates of the PDP, Ben Ayade who was on campaign to Akpabuyo and Bakassi, while the APC candidate was represented by Hon. John Etim.
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