All candidates on the platform of 79 political parties contesting the forthcoming elections in Benue State on Friday agreed to prevent violence and promote peaceful elections across every location in the state.
The decision was reached within the framework of a High-Level Dialogue on Peaceful Elections in 2019 organised jointly by the National Peace Committee (NPC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the United Nations in Makurdi.
“We reiterate our collective resolve to contribute to all efforts aimed at ensuring peaceful elections in Benue State in line with the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act and other relevant laws.
“We clearly resolve to denounce any attempt by individuals or political parties aimed at instrumentalising the elections in Benue State, to ferment violence as a means of furthering their political objectives;
“We recognize the importance of free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful elections to democratic consolidation in Benue State and its overall impact on the democratic process in Nigeria.
“We acknowledge ongoing efforts in Benue State to promote peaceful elections particularly, the signing of a Peace Accord on 8 January 2019 by political parties and actors within the auspices of the INEC; and urge them to respect these commitments,” a communique issued at the end of the meeting stated in part.
The communique added that the candidates committed themselves as well to demonstrate exemplary leadership and exercise their responsibilities as key stakeholders in the state by educating their people, in denouncing all forms of incitement to hate before, during and after the elections, such that may undermine the peace loving nature of the Benue people.
While it further expressed the collective desire and determination of the candidates, that the elections in Benue would be held in an environment that is enabling for the respect of human rights, particularly the rights of women, persons with disability and other vulnerable groups.