Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
CANDIDATES of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Douye Diri and the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief David Lyon, have signed a peace accord ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Representatives of 40 other parties also appended their signatures to the peace document in the presence of the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
Lyon’s running mate, Senator Biobarakumo Degi-Eremienyo, signed the document on behalf of his boss and the APC, pledging to ensure peace at the poll.
The ceremony took place at a consultative stakeholders’ meeting organised by INEC in Yenagoa, the state capital, as part of its preparations for the poll.
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In his speech, Yakubu said INEC was committed to a free, fair, credible, peaceful and conclusive poll in the state.
He said the commission had delivered all non-sensitive materials to the INEC in Yenagoa and warned against inducement of voters.
He said: “The materials have been sorted out, categorised and batched, ready to be delivered to the LGAs, wards and polling units.
“The sensitive materials are also ready and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is delivering them to Bayelsa State this weekend. Voter inducement in all forms, including vote-buying at polling units, is a violation of the law.
“The ban on the use of mobile phones and other photographic devices in the voting cubicles is still in force and will be strictly enforced and monitored. I urge all stakeholders to continue to eschew violence and maintain peaceful conduct during the election.
“It is our collective responsibility to safeguard the process and to protect all election duty staff, including the youth corps members who serve at the polling units, which is the basic level of the voting process.
“I urge all stakeholders to continue to eschew violence and maintain peaceful conduct during the election. It is also our collective responsibility to extend the same protection and allow freedom of movement and unimpeded access to polling and collation areas for accredited observers and the media during the election.
“Let me quickly add that the Commission is committed to free, fair and credible process. We need the commitment of especially the political parties and candidates to realise these goals.”
On his part, Adamu said the force would deploy no fewer than 32,000 officers and men for election duty during the Bayelsa gubernatorial poll.
The police boss, who assured of maximum security during and after the election in the state, said the police were ready to protect lives and property, especially in all the polling units.
“All security arrangements have been made. The Police Force will deploy 32,000 personnel to the state during the period of the governorship poll. “