From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
Barely eight days to the governorship election in Kogi State, candidates and chairmen of all political parties in the state have signed peace pact to ensure hitch free conduct of the polls.
The peace accord was reached during the National Peace Committee (NPC) Dialogue Forum organized for critical stakeholders in the electoral process held in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital on Thursday.
Though some of the governorship candidates and party chairmen were not physically present for the event, but their representatives signed on their behalf.
In an opening remarks on behalf of the chairman of the National Peace Committee who also is former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and organiser of the forum, General Abdulsalem Abubakar, said, the essence of the gathering was geared towards forestalling possible political crisis that could disrupt the Kogi governorship election come November 16.
Speaking on the Theme: “Organising a free and fair governorship election in Kogi, update and challenges,” the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kogi, Professor James Apam hinted that, one of the major challenge the commission is likely to face is threats of violence in flashpoint zones of the state.
He also envisaged the problem of reaching communities along the riverine areas that were submerged by the recent flooding especially Ibaji Local Government Area to conduct the election.
Also speaking on the second Theme: “Ensuring security during the electoral process in Kogi state” the commissioner of police, Hakeem Busari assured the electorates in Kogi of safety environment and atmosphere that would enable them come out in their large numbers to vote for the candidates of their choice without molestation as 35, 000 police officers would be deployed to tackle security for the peaceful conduct of the election.
According to the police commissioner “Campaigns so far by all political parties are going on smoothly. We have been providing them with equal opportunity for the security of lives and property of the political gladiators and their supporters and so it will continue even before, during and after the election”.
His Royal Majesty, the Ohinoyi of Ebira and vice president of Kogi state council of chiefs, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim and representatives of religious leaders in their separate goodwill messages, commended the conveners of the peace accord singing, stressing that it will go a long way in facilitating the smooth conduct of the governorship election.
They vowed to go spiritual by mobilizing for prayers in their various domains for the success of the governorship polls.