Olusegun Ariyo

The independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledge Neutrality ahead of Edo state gubernatorial even as two major candidates in the contest signs a peace pact, ensuring peace before, during and after the election come Saturday, some few hour before now.

The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu who was also at the event assured the electorates of the commission’s neutrality as he assured edo people “only” would determine who their next government becomes

 Regarding peace pact in edo election, Kukah said the pact should not be seen as a mere ceremony, adding that the project was of great national and international significance.

“For me as a priest, I liken this to an exchange of vows. You are committing yourselves, and we are only witnesses. As you read from the words of the accord, it is a trust you are taking upon yourselves and a commitment you are making to the people of Nigeria and all those around the world,” he said.

Obaseki, however, appealed to the committee to extend the olive branch to other political actors who exercise influence on the political space.

On his part, Ize-Iyamu stated: “We are grateful to the peace committee, INEC and the police. We are also grateful to the Oba of Benin because what we are witnessing today (yesterday) was actually initiated few weeks ago.”

Earlier, the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare II, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his peaceful disposition.

Represented by the Esogban of Benin, Solomon Edebiri, he called on the people to shun violence, pointing out that when two people contest, only one emerges as winner.

The pledge was made during the signing of a truce deal brokered by Chairman of National Peace Committee, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) and the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, in Benin City.

Addressing the candidates, the former Head of State encouraged them to accept the outcome of the poll, warning that any violation of the agreement calls their integrity to question.

He advised all parties to adopt a code of conduct that promotes consultation, because according to him, “only this will reduce the adversarial relationship that often develops during campaign.”

Abubakar went on: “By agreeing to sign this covenant of peace, all of you are committing yourselves to an enduring peace in Nigeria and Edo State before, during and after the elections. You are also agreeing to look beyond short-term electoral gain, sectional interest or narrow party advantage, and accepting to focus on nothing but the development of Edo State.

“I urge all the stakeholders to commit to the spirit of the accord while also remembering that a violation of this accord is putting your integrity on the line. You are signing this as people who are to be taken for your words. We are calling on everyone to work towards ensuring a peaceful election.”

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