Ahead of July 18, 2016 Governorship Primaries scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) aspirants in the state, on Monday marched for peace and non-violent election before, during and after the exercise.
The commitment to a non-violent election was extracted from the aspirants, in Benin City, by the Alumni association of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, during a procession march round Kings Square.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ovenseri Utamere, a member of the AAU alumni, said that the occasion was organised to get the commitments of all the governorship aspirants and their supporters to ensure a peaceful election.
According to him, “when there is violence, the choice of the people to make their choice would not be guaranteed. Therefore, a part of the objectives is to know the extent to which the aspirants support peace”.
Dr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, as aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), thanked the organisers of the even for extending the invitation to him and members of his campaign organisation, noting that as oxygen and air are synonymous with life, that is how peace is synonymous to democracy.
He said: “We must say ‘no’ violence, destruction of life and property. Today, the power sector is in comatose because of vandalism. Let us say ‘no’ to anything that will bring violence”, reminding people that violence is not a prerogative of one man.
On his part, a representative of the Labour Party aspirant, Pastor Amos Arhionogbe, said that being an alumni of AAU and a clergy, he had always been in the vanguard and a supporter of peace.
“We cannot continue to live in a country or state where there is no peace. Therefore, we say ‘no’ to violence and I enjoin all to queue behind whoever gets the ticket”, he said.
To Gen. Charles Airhavbere, APC governorship hopeful, who was represented by Ehinwenma Elizabeth, without peace, there would be no progress and therefore, “I support democracy and non-violent election”.
Similarly, Godwin Obaseki represented by his Deputy Director-General, Oskue John, appreciated all those behind the initiative and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) for organising the event. He said that as a man with robust career both in public and private sectors, his track record spoke for him as a man of peace.
“I am ready to work for peace because without it, there can be no democracy. Democracy is about people having the freedom to make their choice. For democracy to thrive, we must subscribe to peace. Apart from that, we must take the message to our people at home and to our supporters who are not here that we need peace”, he declared.
In his brief remarks, the Edo state NUJ Chairman, Sir. Roland Osakwe, noted that without peace, there would be no progress, enjoining all to remain properly committed and not pay lip service to the cause.
He told them that the NUJ would press charges against nay one of the aspirants who breach the peace, before, during and after the election, stressing “there must be a signatory to that effect and not just pronouncements”.