Home Editorial 2015 poll: Making Peace Accord work

2015 poll: Making Peace Accord work

The Peace Accord signed recently in Abuja by the leadership of the 14 political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the March 28 election along with their candidates including President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress , APC was seen as a step in the right direction.
The committee set up and headed by the former Head of State, General Abdu salami Abubakar, to ensure full compliance with the Peace Accord is also commendable. This will go a long way in ensuring that the March/April elections are peaceful and secure.
The peace accord, witnessed by the former Secretary- General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who chaired the occasion, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki and Senior Special Adviser on Inter-Party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi, was clearly aimed at bringing to an end the senseless mayhem witnessed after the 2011 elections which consumed the lives of about 800 Nigerians including Youth Corps members who served as adhoc staff to INEC in the Northern parts of the country.
The accord agreed, among others, to:  refrain from making or causing to make in their names or that of the party any public statements, pronouncements, declarations or speeches that have the capacity to incite any form of violence before, during and after the election; and to forcefully and publicly speak out against provocative utterances and oppose all acts of electoral violence, whether perpetrated by supporters of a party or their opponents.
Laudable as the peace accord is, the stakeholders were urged to ensure strict adherence to its implementation in order to have violence-free and credible polls.
The peace accord was in line with the United States (US) Secretary of State, John Kerry’s admonition against violence before, during and after this year’s elections
The contestants are urged not only preach against violence, but also to penalize those who go against it or distance themselves from the accord.
Though the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, there have been recent incidences of breech of that accord with rival political parties and their spokespersons trading allegations and resorting to threats and counter threats of law suits to discomfit their adversaries.
We advise people to maintain conducive and convivial atmosphere devoid of rancour and resist any attempt by desperate politicians to use them foment trouble before, during and after the elections.
It should also be noted that since those who fan the embers of discord may have taken their families abroad, Nigerians should not to be deceived by elements who may want to derail the 2015 election programme.
While all the contestants should be warned that the 2011 post-election violence should not be repeated in 2015, politicians and campaigners should be cautioned to ensure that the already highly-volatile political situation in the country does not degenerate into unimaginable developments.
Nigerians are hereby urged to eschew election violence since any violence may lead to the killing, maiming of people and destruction of infrastructure.
The media also has a role to play in ensuring that it preaches peace through its reportage. Since people   believe in what they read or hear in both the print or electronic media, respectively,  the media should avoid sensational stories and help preach peace to the people to avoid unnecessary apprehension and ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is urged to monitor candidates and sanction the violators of the accord, while the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and other security agencies should crack down on all political thugs and mobilize men and materials to monitor black spots or states that have the tendency for violence before, during and after the elections.
In fact, the security agencies should ensure that there is law and order in the country. Anything that may cause any breach of peace through unnecessary harassment or intimidation of the contestants or electorate by the security personnel must be must be avoided.
We call on the security agencies to ensure that people are not used to cause trouble during the elections. They should deploy as much personnel as they can across the nation to assist INEC in ensuring credible and violence-free polls.

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