The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in conjunction with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the signing of the Peace Accord by the Gubernotorial candidates in Sokoto state. The event which was held at the multipurpose hall of Dankani Hotel, Sokoto was chaired by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Dr. Matthwe Hassan Kukah. Also present was the Executive Governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, in his dual capacity as the Chief Security Officer of the State and the Gubernotorial Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also present were other political gubernatorial candidates and their representatives, amongst other dignitaries.
In his opening remark Bishop Kukah thanked the candidates for the invitation to act as the Chairman of the event. His being here is on two capacities, first as a citizen of Sokoto State, and second as a member of the National Peace Committee (NPC) under the Chairmanship of Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, GCFR. Encouraging everyone to be validly possess a Permanent Voters Card (PVC), Bishop Kukah was of the view that “my PVC is what gives me the legitimate right to stand here, I am armed with that equipment for it is the only reason anybody can have any stake or claim to participate in this process’’. “It is very significant that this event is taking place at this time, it will help us renew, commit and dedicate ourselves to the very difficult task of building our country… a lot of international agencies are showing very keen interest and concern about what happens in our country, Nigeria. In the final analysis the task of building our country Nigeria rest on all of us. He called on all candidates and political parties to uphold the reputation that Sokoto has attained as one of the most peaceful states in the federation”.
Addressing the concern of some politicians and ordinary citizens in the state, the clergyman encouraged INEC to should review its guidelines and address the concerns of the public.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal also commended the organizers of the event for embarking on such crucial and important mission of securing the commitment of candidates towards guaranteeing a peaceful, transparent, violence free and fair election in Sokoto state. He said that political parties and candidates should abide by the Peace Accord “for it is in our collective interest for nothing is possible without peace. Peace is an essential element and all what Nigeria is seeking for is peaceful coexistence”.
He further added that our democracy is a process, therefore we should continue to build on as “it is work in progress.... We are not yet there yet so we need to build and imbibe democratic tenets of peaceful coexistence, good governance, good leadership and accountability. So I appeal to my colleagues who are running for this race to observe democratic tenets in campaigns, no vulgar language, we should not be abusing ourselves, after all we are all brothers and sisters.
A total of 50 candidates representing various political parties signed the accord; out of which four were female.
The event was rounded up with a closing prayer by Rev. Fr. Lawrence Emehel (Director, Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Catholic Diocese of Sokoto).