From Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Leaders of political parties in Kwara State on Wednesday signed a peace accord ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The event which was held at the Police Officers’ Mess, GRA, Ilorin, the state capital, was at the instance of the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Paul Odama.
It was witnessed by heads and representatives of all security and paramilitary agencies in the State as well as the representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Addressing the leaders of the political parties whose turnout was impressive, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Paul Odama, urged the politicians, candidates and their agents, especially the media aides to put Kwara first in their campaigns.
He said the peace accord was aimed at “bestowing on our society an acceptable, free, fair and credible electoral process.”
“As we are aware, elections come every four years, losers of this year could be winners of next year, as such, we should be conscious of our actions either to preserve the unity and oneness of the country or to tear the country into pieces, God forbid. That was why, this gathering becomes very imperative, to further prick our individual consciences on the conviction of bequeathing to our children a sustainable political system that would stand the test of time in line with our culture and diversity.
“Consequent upon the aforementioned, I called on our brothers and sisters seated here as political actors, fellow sister security agencies, the INEC and all election stakeholders to ensure that Kwara state is placed first above all other considerations.
“I appeal to the politicians, especially contestants in the coming elections, especially, their media aides and vote canvassers to shun incense and inciting statements, personal attacks, spreading of fake news and be committed to issue-based campaigns and avoid hate speeches during Political rallies,” Odama added.
The police commissioner restated the preparedness of security agencies in the state to discharge their constitutional duty of providing a level playing ground for all political parties in line with the provision of the electoral laws.
Odama emphasised the need for politicians to promote issue-based campaigns and ensure civility and decency during public discourse as the election period draws nearer.
He added: “Now to the reason for this gathering, just as it is being done across the states of the federation, we are here to sign a peace accord, to show our commitment to politicking without venom, where things are done in accordance with extant laws which would send a signal to our teeming followers that we meant what we say in the area of ensuring that campaigns are done with decency and civilization.
“Hence we will have to put pen to paper as a form of commitment to Nigerians at large and Kwara State in particular that we are prepared to run seamless and rancour-free campaigns devoid of acrimony, anger and violence.”
Amongst the parties that attended the meeting are APC, PDP, PRP, ADP, AAC, NNPP, APGA, APM, ZLP, ADC, APP, YPP, LP and SDP in the state.