The Chairman of the National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Thursday called on candidates and political parties in the Anambra governorship election to abide by the letters of the peace accord to ensure a free, fair and credible election in the state.
He urged that aggrieved parties should not resort to violence but follow the judicial process.
Abubakar, a former Head of State, said this at the signing of the peace accord by the chairmen and candidates of the 17 political parties in Anambra.
The candidates included that of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; the Peoples Democratic Party, Valentine Ozigbo; and the All Progressives Congress, Andy Uba.
The NPC boss said the accord “is not a mere exercise but a clarion call for stakeholders to commit themselves to a peaceful electoral process.”
He said, “We, members of the National Peace Committee have come to Anambra State to support a peaceful electoral process. We cherish Anambra State, and we cherish the peace and unity of Nigeria. Most importantly, we want to contribute our own quota to see that the governorship election in Anambra State is devoid of violence.
“We call on candidates, their parties and supporters to accept the outcome of the vote as long as it is judged to be free, fair and credible. In the letter and spirit of the accord, any aggrieved party should not resort to violence, but follow a judicial process.”
At the event, the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, said the commission had concluded plans to ensure a hitch-free election.
He said, “INEC is ready to organise hitch-free election. The focus of the NPC was initially for the presidential election but having played a major role in a free, fair and credible elections in Edo and Ondo, we called for their support for the Anambra election on Saturday and we are happy they responded.
“We are also hopeful that this election will be without hiccups. We hope the political parties will adhere to the peace accord so that we can have a peaceful election and country.”
Tight security in Anambra ahead of election
Meanwhile, security personnel have taken over Anambra State ahead of the governorship election to be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Saturday.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, was said to have deployed 34,587 policemen to ensure a hitch-free election.
The Nigerian Army also had its soldiers on the ground, while the Nigeria Air Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps had assigned their men to the state.
Connecting other parts of the state from Onitsha was difficult on Thursday as police checkpoints were erected on major highways.
Gunshots were also heard around the Aroma junction on the Onitsha-Enugu highway as security operatives announced their arrival at different parts of the town.
However, some residents still entertained fear over their safety.
A lady, who identified herself simply as Blessing, said no one was sure of what will happen as the Indigenous People of Biafra has threatened to disrupt the election.
Another resident, Chibuike, lamented that some of the policemen harassed a young man who was in his car with his girlfriend, wondering if that is one of the jobs they were sent to do.
INEC distributes sensitive materials
Similarly, INEC on Thursday commenced the distribution of sensitive materials across the 21 local government areas of the state.
The materials, distributed from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s branch in Awka, included the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System ballot booklets, result sheets and other materials for use at various polling units.
Speaking, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Anambra election supervision, Festus Okoye, said seven Resident Electoral Commissioners were in the state to take charge of three local government areas each on the election day.
He said adequate security arrangements had been provided to secure the materials at INEC offices in the LGAs, adding that vehicles conveying the materials were electronically tracked to ensure they followed identified routes to their destinations.
“The materials were brought out for intact assessment by political party agents, before being handed over to each of the electoral officers for the 21 local government areas of the state to be escorted by security agents,” Okoye said.
Director, Electoral Operation, INEC, Abdulrazak Yusuf, said the materials were uniquely designed for only their designated polling units.
IPOB cancels one week sit-at-home, says elders, clerics have intervened
The leadership of IPOB said it has cancelled its planned one-week sit-at-home order across the South-East.
The group, in a statement by its Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, on Thursday said the group cancelled the one-week lockdown of the zone because leaders and elders of the region had intervened.
The statement read, “Following the genuine intervention of our elders, esteemed traditional institutions /rulers and religious leaders, and after a due consideration of the positive impacts of their engagement, and sequel to the fact that our elders have spoken in our terms, the leadership of IPOB, ably lead by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, hereby and immediately call off the one-week sit-at-home earlier declared to commence tomorrow, November 5 to November 10, 2021.
“We have equally considered several appeals by our mothers who earn their living based on their daily economic activities which will obviously be affected if Biafra land is locked down for one whole week. It is never our intention to add to the pains of our people, hence our decision to suspend the sit-at-home.”
The group added, “The people of Anambra State should go out en masse and peacefully exercise their franchise come November 6, 2021, and accordingly, chose a leader of their choice and should not be intimidated by anybody, group of persons or security agents.
“Credible intelligence available to us confirmed that the Nigeria DSS has concluded arrangement to deploy a branch of their trained terrorist group to Anambra State to unleash mayhem on our people and attribute the killing to peaceful IPOB members.
“Anambrarians should vote and standby to protect their votes. No rigging of any kind will be tolerated on the Anambra State governorship election. It must be transparent, free and fair to all.”
Powerful warned self-appointed enforcer of its order to desist since IPOB did not send them
“IPOB doesn’t expect anybody to observe, monitor or enforce the suspended order; otherwise such action will be considered a rebellion to the highest leadership of our global movement.
“On the other hand, our oppressors should not take our decision as an act of cowardice. IPOB still believes that our elders, religious leaders, political leaders and various stakeholders will live up to their promises in their engagements and efforts towards securing the unconditional release of our leader,” he added.