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As Edo State governorship election is tomorrow, 19 September, iminent Edo residents are appealing to the candidates and their followers to embrace peace.
There has been several hostility between the two major camps since the onset of the campaign.
Indigenes from within the state, including the Benin Monarch, Oba of Benin and concerns Nigerians outside the states have all made several attempts to quench the controversies that have engulfed the campaign.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party Godwin Obaseki and the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) Osagie Ize-Iyamu have a someone in common, a former Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.
While Ize-Iyamu depends on Oshiomhole’s popularity and control to secure his triumph, Obaseki considers the same man as an enemy following series of events that had taken place over the months.
In a desperate appeal to the Edo people, an APC Chieftain Peter Esele said “My appeal to everyone is to come and vote it’s their right to do so . It’s a civic responsibility that mustn’t be joke with.
“This election isn’t worth our blood. We are all Edo, therefore we must show love and respect to one another. Politics is not war. Both parties must play by the rules to the glory of Edo and the welfare of its inhabitants paramount.”
Victor Oshioke, an aide to Oshiomhole expressed optimism that the forthcoming election will be violence-free.
Oshioke is depending on the assurances given by the various security agencies and the preparedness by the police to ensure a calm election day.
“I believe that we will witness a very peaceful election. I am impressed with the fatherly role played by the Oba of Benin who has called the candidates and made them commit themselves to a peaceful electoral process coupled with the peace agreement brokered by the Abdulsalam Abubakar led Peace Committee, I have no doubt that every reasonable Edo person will play their individual part to ensure that we have a peaceful, free and fair election on Saturday September 19,2020.”
In a message to Standard Gazette, a former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State Prof Modupe Adelabu directed his appeal message to the youths, who she described as the “future of Nigeria.”
“I appeal to them to eschew violence. None of the major actors will use their children as political thugs.”
The candidates should allow the electorates to decide who they want to rule them. Every life of Edo citizens should be precious to them. As they can govern only the living they should ask the voters, and their followers in particular to go out peacefully and vote while at the same time stayed to protect their votes,” she appeals to the candidates.
A concerned Edo resident, Comrade Edoseghe said he was worried about the security situation before, during and after the election.
The escalation of security within the city and the local communities has further indicated that the fear is founded.
The boasts by some principal players and their thugs that they must win even in wards of their opponents has also become a pre indicator that peace may become a scarce essence during this election.
The education of potential voters and other stakeholders have not matched up with the threats to security.
Edoseghe is worried that Institutions to do this has not lived up to the expectations. He added ‘Institutions like the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, NGOs, Political parties and Religious Bodies have not invested much in the de-escalation of violence. And worst of all is the pervasive poverty in the land which has radicalised otherwise law-abiding citizens and the recent insensitivity displayed by the Federal Government through the approved increase in the tariff of electricity and the pump price of fuel have now become a justification by some persons to take premium advantage of this election to make money from this election, even at all costs, irrespective of the escalation of security by the Federal Government.
Appealing, Edoseghe said “for this and other elections in the future, the various stakeholders must discharge their expected responsibilities aimed at educating the public that wining at elections should not be a do or die affairs.
“The Institutions to prosecute election offenders should be strengthened to appropriately contain offenders.
“The introduction of electronic voting should be considered so that android smartphones can be used to register and vote during elections.
“As for the candidates, they should tell their supporters not to violate election rules by conducting themselves in ways not prejudicial to good conducts.”
Hon Osaro Ibizugbe appeals to the candiates to ‘speak to their supporters to eschew bitterness and rancour, and embrace peace, just as His Majesty, the Oba of Benin had admonished them. Having concluded campaigns, they should allow God speak through the people, on election Day, and accept the result, with equanimity!”
A Benin based journast, Rita Ebiuwa called on all Edo residents to “come emass to vote for their preferred candidate.”
Engr Kingsley Ohenhen is worried about those he called ‘desperate politicians’ that plans to take power at all cost.
He said “We do hear of attacks and counter attacks on conveys of one the political candidate.”
In his appeal, Engr Ohenhen said “The candidates should take election in the spirit of sportsmanship and not do or die.
“They should market themselves instead of marketing violence, they tell their supporters to go to the polling unit and cast their votes peacefully.”
To the Electorates, he stressed that “they should note that no politician is worth dying for. Anyone that dies during electoral violence just died for nothing. “
He added “They should vote for credibility, and that person they feel will defend their future. They have listened to the campaign and the debates, it is left for them to judge.”
From the history of election in Nigeria, tomorrow governorship election in Edo State might be marred with violence as both camps have shown desperation tendencies and lack disregard for due process and the rule of law.
On this note, The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare the 11, during a peace accord between the two governorshp candidates said “There is nothing as powerful as prayers.
“As you go about your campaign, go about it peacefully and without bitterness.”
He added “We remain non-partisan because of the laid down rules of our ancestors; we must be fathers to all.
“We see every candidate as our child and we pray for everybody. It is wiser to leave the fate of the election to God.
“I am not against any candidate; I have never been for or against any candidate but when the people have chosen via the election, we will pray for him to succeed in office.’’
A former Vice President Of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar said “As the great people of Edo State go to the polls to elect their governor this weekend, they need to be provided with a secured environment to cast their votes and be assured that their votes will count.”
A former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) who is the Chairman of the National Peace Committee intervened in the Edo governorship election because of the tension it has generated.
Abubakar facilitated a peace accord between Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu to ensure that tomorrow election remains peaceful.