By David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
A former Head of State, Gen Abdusalami Abubakar, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Mathew Kukah, and the traditional ruler of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, have called for peace as Nigerians gear up to elect state governors and state assembly members Saturday.
The trio spoke on Thursday in Awka, the Anambra State capital, during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the National Peace Committee entitled: “High-Level Dialogue on Peaceful Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Elections”.
The Deputy Director, Administration of The Kukah Centre, Mr Duke Anoemuah, read the joint address of Kukah and Abdulsalami during the meeting, while that of Igwe Achebe was read by Chief Okey Ononye, who represented him at the function.
They asked politicians, monarchs, the security services, civil society organisations, the media and the government to be committed to the peaceful conduct of the elections.
Part of their address read: “We are here in Anambra State to extend to you the good people of the state an appeal made by the NPC for a peaceful conduct of election into the State House of Assembly scheduled for Saturday, 9 March, 2019.
“Our distinguished candidates contesting elections in to the State House of Assembly are urged to eschew violence and hate speeches and strive to adhere to the peace accord which Leaders of the various political parties willingly assented to in Abuja in December 2018 and February 2019, before the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“The goal of this forum is to sensitise and mobilise stakeholders towards peaceful elections. It is expected to build initiatives, and take measures to strengthen mutual confidence among stakeholders and political actors, and to encourage peaceful resolution of any election-related disputes with utmost regard to the rule of law and due process.
“The Chairman (Abdusalami) also asked me to convey his appreciation to the leadership of all political parties in Anambra State, especially candidates contesting for the legislative positions who have so far demonstrated their commitment to peaceful elections in the State.”
They reminded contestants in the election to educate their followers/supporters to conduct themselves peacefully during the exercise, stressing that it was only in a peaceful environment that elections could hold.