From Msurshima Andrew, Makurdi
A Non Governmental Organization, (NGO), Civil Society and Legislative Advocacy Center, (CISLAC), has called on politicians in Benue state to sign a binding pact to ensure peaceful conduct of the general elections in the state.
The Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, made this call while briefing newsmen at a Stakeholders Sensitization Summit to draw attention to election induced violence towards the 2023 elections in Benue, in Makurdi.
Represented by the Senior Programme Officer, CISLAC, Solomon Adoga, Musa said the importance of peace in the overall conduct of a free, fair, credible and participatory elections cannot be over-emphasized.
According to him, peace is the guarantee of peaceful conduct of elections that guarantee the participation of citizens, especially women, the elderly and people living with disabilities.
He observed that in places where insecurity have prevailed, the need to guarantee citizens of a peaceful election becomes even more imperative.
“It is in line with this that it is expected that Benue State would initiate the process which brings together the political gladiators and the political parties to agree to a pact which binds them to upholding the peaceful conduct of the election through-out the electioneering period.”
He said “The tendencies for political campaigns and other electioneering activities to stoke up violence are usually very high in democracies like ours. Drawing from these experiences, stakeholders have felt the need organize and mobilize for peace agreements.
He recalled that in 2015 general election, the National Peace Accord was instrumental to one of the most historic democratic power transitions in Nigeria and in Africa.
He acknowledged that stakeholders in Benue have been working and are at some stages of efforts towards the peace agreement, he urged to expedite action saying CISLAC would support the process towards a peaceful conduct of the 2023 election in Benue.
“We urge the state to emulate the National Peace Accord, as well as the various peace agreements as has been entered into by several states of the country.
“The European Union through the EU-SDGN2 project and our consortium partners which include Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, (CAPPA) and SOS Children’s Villages as well as our partners in Benue State are all desirous of a peaceful conclusion of the 2023 elections in Benue state,” he said.