As a demonstration of his avowed commitment towards ensuring hitch-free and peaceful 2023 elections in Gombe State, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has joined other Governorship candidates and party leaders in signing a Peace Accord organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Gombe State in collaboration with Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, ICCES.
Thirteen out of 14 governorship candidates in Gombe State and their respective parties’ Chairman signed the peace accord with the exception of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Addressing newsmen after signing the accord, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya restated his unflinching commitment to peaceful and harmonious relationships with other political parties in the state.
He also stressed his determination towards preserving peace and ensuring rancor-free elections, maintaining that, it is only when there is peace, security, and tranquility that there will be good governance.
“As the governor and chief security officer of the state, I will continue to maintain peace and tranquility throughout the electioneering period; before, during, and after elections.
” We will continue to ensure that there is peace and security for the elections to be conducted and for the continuous delivery of good and responsible leadership in the state to which we are dedicated”, he added.
He called on the other gubernatorial candidates that signed the accord documents to live up to expectations.
“As a democrat, I have signed the peace accord documents and others have signed too, I will abide by it and I believe others too will abide by the premises of what is contained in it, if everybody will stand by what is signed, we can have peace and elections will hold for good governance to continue”.
” As far as Gombe is concerned, as the Commissioner of Police has said, elections cannot be devoid of a few skirmishes, but Gombe is clean and Gombe is on course and better than most states in terms of peaceful electioneering campaigns”.
” My message is for everybody to live peacefully, conduct themselves peacefully and ensure there’s tranquility in the state”, The law enforcement agents are there as well to enforce the law”, he added.
When asked what special security architecture is in place for the elections, Governor Inuwa stated that “Elections are supposed to be special events, the National Security Adviser and all the other security organs have provided the security architecture framework and we will go by the template they have provided”
The governor called on the people of the state to live and conduct themselves peacefully while shunning all forms of violence and anything capable of undermining the relative peace enjoyed in the state.
He commended INEC for preparing the accord, maintaining that it will go a long way in preserving peace and security, especially at this critical time of electioneering campaigns.
Governor said security has been the focal point of his administration, hence the reason for attending to the event in person, adding that peace is a priceless business of governance that deserves much attention.
“Election itself cannot hold in an atmosphere of rancor and skirmishes; We are after peace and security; And nothing will go well until there is peace and security, ” he noted.
Earlier in his address, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, and Chairman Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, Alh. Umar Ibrahim said the Peace Accord was a strategic move towards ensuring peaceful elections.
“We are here today not to force an Accord but to understand with one another the importance of peace in our separate and collective efforts to build a prosperous Gombe State. The conduct of credible elections is our collective responsibility and our actions or inactions can either make or mar the exercise”, he said.
The resident Commissioner called on all the signatories to the accord to ensure that they comply with the terms and conditions contained in the agreement for the peaceful conduct of elections and suitanable peace and progress of Gombe State and the country at large.
Speaking to newsmen on the absence of the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Jibrin Barde, the INEC REC said: “We are not coercing anybody here or forcing the accord on anyone.
“It is in our collective interest, so we are not saying everyone will come and sign.
“We have 14 governorship candidates in the state and out of them, 13 have signed. So I think it is fair.”
He appealed to all political parties and their candidates to ensure compliance with the peace accord.
He also urged the candidates to caution their supporters against engaging in whatever could threaten peace before, during, and after the elections.
Also in his remarks, the Commissioner of Police Gombe State Command and Co-Chair, ICCES, Mr. Oqua Etim, described Gombe “as one of the safest states in the country”, assuring of level playground for all parties and people to exercise their constitutional rights.
The CP said the Police Force will collaborate with other law enforcement agencies in the state to ensure peaceful elections and proper enforcement of laws without fear or favour.
Also speaking, the Emir of Gombe Alh. Dr. Abubakar Shehu Abubakar III CFR, represented by The District Head of Jalo Waziri, Alh. Ibrahim Bappah Muhammad called on all stakeholders and community leaders at different levels to preach the gospel of peace for continued peaceful co-existence among diverse ethnic and religious groups in the state.
Also in their separate remarks, the representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and that of Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI admonished all the candidates and political actors in the state to avoid desperation, explaining that only God can give or take away power. ” Therefore people should not use violent means in seeking for it to avoid eternal punishment”.
The Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, Hon. Aliyu Muhammad Gana called on all candidates to shun all acts of violence in their campaign rallies for the maintenance of peace and order in the state.
The event featured the signing of 30 copies of the peace accord by representatives of each political party and their respective gubernatorial candidates.
Also present during the ceremony were: the Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Aishatu Jibir Dukku, Member representing Dukku/Nafada Federal Constituency, Commandant 301 Artillery Regiment, State Commandant, Nigeria Security, and Civil Defense Corps, State Commandant of Federal Road Safety Corps, Comptroller of Immigration, Comptroller Nigerian Correctional Services, Commandant NDLEA, State Coordinate NYSC, among others.
Governor Inuwa was accompanied to the event by his Deputy, Dr. Mannasah Daniel Jatau, Party leadership, Secretary to the State Government, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi, Chief of Staff, Abubakar Inuwa Kari, the Director-General of APC Campaign Council, Barrister Zubairu Muhammad Umar, Commissioners, Special Advisers, and other top government functionaries and APC stalwarts.