John Shiklam in Kaduna
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Isa Ashiru; and 20 other governorship candidates of other political parties yesterday signed a peace accord to ensure violence-free elections in the state.
The peace accord was initiated by the state police command for the peaceful conduct of the forth coming general election in the state.
Speaking during the occasion which was held at the Police Officers’ Mess in Kaduna, the state Police Commissioner, Alhaji Ahmad Abdurrahman, said the signing of the peace agreement was in line with the principles of community engagement to ensure peaceful transition of political power which includes the conduct of a free, fair, peaceful and credible election.
He said: “The peace accord signifies our respective commitment to peace and symbolises respect for the rule of law.
“This is why I implore you all to do the needful by signing this accord with the command to work together in our respective ways towards achieving a peaceful atmosphere, violence-free and credible elections.”
Abdulrahman, who noted that winning election into public office should not be a do-or-die affair, appealed to the candidates and their supporters to avoid smear campaign, character assassination or inciting one group, tribe or religion against another just to score cheap political points.
According to the state police boss, “You should also avoid using hate speech or indecent language as it is a contest of ideas, battle of winning majority votes, the hearts and minds of the people, as well as selling feasible policies and programmes to better the lives of the electorate.
“I want to emphasise that a violence-free election is a fundamental means to sustainable peace and development. In ensuring a peaceful and successful election, the behaviour of politicians and party members is crucial.”
He urged them to prepare their minds to accept the results of the elections for the sake of the country just as he urged that whoever emerges winner must not allow his supporters to jubilate in a provocative manner that may cause violence.
The commissioner assured the people that the police would be firmed and fair as they “will not be seen taking side with any party or candidate…”