By Kasarachi Azuka, Asaba
Political parties and their candidates hardly refuse to sign peace accords. What has remained to be seen is abiding by it.
Political parties and their candidates in Delta State have officially agreed to “play by the rules” before, during and after the upcoming general elections billed to hold next Saturday and next across the country.
They also sealed the deal to be of good behaviour in the build to the generals elections and beyond.
They sealed the deal recently in Asaba, the state capital, during the peace accord organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Delta State in collaboration with the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) and other peace-oriented NGOs.
The INEC got them to make the commitment, an effort aimed at forstalling violence and to run a violence-free-and-fair elections.
It is believed that violence is one of the factors that have militated against credible elections in Nigeria and the peace accord is expected to usher in peaceful elections.
Monday Udoh Tom, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, believes that the BVAS would also give a boost to the credibility of the 2023 elections.
Sheriff Mulade, CEPEJ’s executive director, on his part, advised political parties to shun vote buying and advise their followers to play by the rules of the game.
Speaking to newsmen after the signing of the peace accord, Mulade, said that the political parties were ready for the peace accord.
He said they were ready to support INEC to actualize a peaceful election devoid of violence.
“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.”
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.
“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, Mulade concluded.