By Mumini AbdulKareem
Twenty five out of 57 registered political parties in Kwara State have signed a peace accord with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the coming general elections in the state.
The signing of the peace accord, which had representatives of all security agencies in attendance, was deemed necessary by INEC as a result of recent political violence in the state which reportedly claimed lives and valuables.
Speaking at the event, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Mallam Garba Attahiru Madami, expressed worry that Kwara State, known for peace and regarded as state of harmony, is being turned into a state of violence.
“Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is in existence as result of political parties. There is no INEC without political parties, and I urge all political parties to talk to their supporters to follow rules and regulations of the game. It is God that gives power and power is for service delivery to the people. We should desist from campaign of calumny and engage in Issues based campaign,” he said.
He also said that politicians, as leaders in their various parties, should be seen as role models to their supporters.
Madami, however, assured that INEC under his watch, would conduct free, fair, transparent and credible elections that would be acceptable to all, adding that all parties in the elections would be accorded a level playing ground.
The REC informed that permanent voter card and card reader would be used at the polls, adding that the use of incident forms in the event of malfunctioning of the card reader had been abolished “because we are ninety-nine percent sure of our card readers.
The REC also said that over one million permanent voter cards had been collected in the state, adding that the commission planned to distribute more before the elections.
The state Commissioner of Police, Bashiru Makama, who spoke on behalf of other heads of security agencies at the ceremony, urged politicians to appeal to the followers, threatening to henceforth hold them responsible for any act of violence committed in the state.
Makama also called on all political parties to always give at least 48 hours notification to security agencies before embarking on any political campaign to be given adequate security for protection of lives and property.
Makama, who informed that some perpetrators of the recent mayhem in Ilorin metropolis had been arrested and would be prosecuted after ongoing investigation, warned the political leaders to desist from buying hard drugs for their thugs, saying that drugs encouraged them to go violent.