Eighteen Political parties in Delta state, on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, signed a peace accord, to be of good behaviour in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.

The peace accord was organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in collaboration with Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice CEPEJ and other non-governmental organizations in the state.

Part of the reasons for the peace accord, acording to Rev. Monday Udoh-Tom, the state Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), was to ensure peaceful conduct of the election, even as he noted that there can no Electio stressed that no meaningful development can thrive in an environment of war, violence, crisis and conflicts.

”Where there is peace, there is a sustaining meaningful development, peaceful atmosphere and joy,” he said.

Udoh-Tom, who equally expressed his displeasure over absence of some political actors at the event, was quick to emphasize that the peace pact was in demonstration of the commission’s resolve to provide a level playing field for all political parties, to enable citizens come out without fear to cast their votes.

is to forestall violence during and after the elections. The belief is that violence is one of the factors that have militated against credible elections in Nigeria.

Hence, to nip this in the bud and run a violence-free-election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) assembled the political parties and their candidates/designated representatives, to make a commitment to play by the rules.

In addition to what the peace accord is expected to usher in, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Delta state, Revd. Monday Udoh Tom, believes that the BVAS will also give a boost to the credibility of the 2023 elections.

Other peace oriented organizations such as CEPEJ admonished political parties to shun vote buying and advice their followers to play by the rules of the game.

In an interview after the signing of the peace accord, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, the executive director of CEPEJ, told Emerald News that the political parties are ready for the peace accord. He said they are ready to support INEC to actualise a peaceful election devoid of violence.

He said: “From the interactions and discussions, we can see that they are committed to the peace process. Since the campaigns began, you can see some level of peace in Delta state. 

“The peace accord is like a constitution, so they must abide by it. It is a binding document on them.”

Comrade Sheriff Mulade said as a peace advocate with his organization championing peace in the Niger Delta, he deemed it fit to collaborate with INEC to actualise peace during the elections.

He said the peace accord is not peculiar to only Delta state but it is signed across the nation.

According to Mulade: “The essence of this exercise is to have that unity and understanding to build on the existing peace in the state. 

“As the general elections draw near, there is need to work with relevant parties and candidates to ensure there is peace as the parties go about campaigning. They should work towards a peaceful society.

“Without peace there cannot be election and the politicians cannot run a chaotic society. We need that understanding with the electoral body and the candidates, that’s why we are doing this.”

The representative of the Commissioner of Police, SP Michael Obekpa said that the police and other security agencies have concluded necessary arrangements to ensure a peaceful electioneering process.

Obekpa said that adequate officers have been assigned to all the polling units and those to accompany and secure the election materials across the state.

He said that the security agencies were  conversant with challenges being faced during election and assured of measures to ensure a hitch free process. We urge citizens to be law abiding,” he said.

Also, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA),  Mr Precious Nwadimuya said that the association had assembled a team to monitor the election to ensure duly prosecution of violators of the law.

The representative of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Chris Anyabuine appealed to political parties and citizens to embrace peace, saying that the signing of the peace accord was aimed at ensuring peace before, during and after the election.

The representative of Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Pastor Edewor Egegemgbe charged all the political parties  to ensure that the spirit of the peace pact remained sacred in their heart.

Mrs.  Angela Esodeghe, the state INEC Head of Legal Services, said the accord would ensure free, fair and credible election that will be acceptable to all.

Some of those present at the Peace pact signing ceremony included; Oke Idawene, Chairman of SDP and Anthony Ezeagwu, Chairman of Labour Party, amongst others.

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