Political parties and their candidates in Delta State on Tuesday 15th February, 2023, signed a peace accord to be of good behaviour in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.

The peace accord was at the instance of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in collaboration with Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, and International Republican Institute, IRI, in the State.

Part of the reasons for the peace accord was to forestall violence during and after the elections, as violence had been one of the factors that had militated against credible elections in Nigeria.

To nip this in the bud and run a violence-free election, INEC, CEPEJ and IRI assembled the political parties and their candidates to make a commitment that they would play by the rules.

In addition to what the peace accord is expected to achieve, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Delta State, Reverend Monday Udoh Tom said he believed that the BVAS would also give a boost to the credibility of the 2023 elections.

Other peace-oriented organizations such as CEPEJ admonished political parties to shun vote buying and selling, advising candidates and their followers to play by the rules of the game.

In an interview after the signing of the peace accord, the Executive Director of CEPEJ, Chief Comrade Sheriff Mulade told journalists that the political parties showed commitment and were ready to support INEC to achieve and actualize peaceful elections devoid of violence in the State.

He said “from the interactions and discussions, we can see that they are committed to the peace process. Since the campaigns began, you can see some level of peace in Delta State. The peace accord is like a constitution, so they must abide by it. It is a binding document on them.”

Comrade Sheriff Mulade said as a peace advocate with his organization championing peace in the Niger Delta Region, CEPEJ in partnership with IRI, an America-based election monitoring body, would collaborate with INEC to actualise peace during the elections. He said the peace accord was not limited to Delta State but signed across the nation.

According to Mulade, “the essence of this exercise is to have unity and understanding to build on the existing peace in the State. As the general elections draw nearer, there is the need to work with relevant parties and candidates to ensure that there is peace, as the parties go about campaigning. They should work towards a peaceful society.”

He said without peace, elections cannot hold and the politicians cannot run a chaotic society. There is the need for understanding between the electoral body and the candidates, that’s why we are doing this,” he said.

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