Three political parties, the All Progressives Congress, Labour Party and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have signed an undertaking to maintain peace before, during and after the 2015 general elections in Benue State.
APC governorship candidate, Chief Dr Samuel Ortom and Deputy Chairman, Zone A, Barrister Vincent Uji, LP governorship candidate, Dr Mannasseh Ligom, and Messrs John Ngbede, PDP governorship running mate, and Bem Dzoho, State Secretary who represented the state chairman signed for their respective parties.
The event which was organized by the interagency consultative committee under the state police commissioner as chairman was held at the police officers mess in Makurdi today.
The Commissioner, Mr Hyacinth Dagala, stated that the meeting became necessary on account of the attacks on party supporters and destruction of campaign property of political parties which indicated that unless urgent measures were taken the state might witness an upsurge of violence during the forthcoming polls.
He said peaceful coexistence was imperative for development and urged political leaders to preach peace to their followers and ensure that they conduct themselves peacefully at all times.
Mr Dagala assured that the law enforcement agencies would deploy all resources to maintain peaceful, free, and transparent elections in the state.
In his presentation at the meeting Benue State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Istafanus Dafwang listed what he described as monetization of political offices and the electoral process, greed, as well as a do or die attitude as causes of electoral violence which result in death, injuries and destruction of property.
He recommended reduction in salaries, allowances and pecks of political offices, prosecution of electoral offenders as well as civic and voter education as the solution.
Professor Dafwang pledged INEC’s commitment to conducting credible, peaceful, and transparent elections and justified the use of card readers which he described as anti – rigging machine.
Those who spoke including all the candidates commended the peace initiative and pledged support for it.
It could be recalled that Chief Dr Ortom had requested the police commissioner to convene such a meeting.