A concerned group, Society for Neighbourhood Peace and Development (SONPED) has urged all stakeholders in the forthcoming twin governorship polls of Edo and Ondo states to work towards a peaceful conduct of the polls noting that it is only an atmosphere of peace that would gurrantee a free, fair poll the states which would translate into enduring democracy.
The group therefore called on all concerned parties including participating political parties, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security operatives and the generality of Edo and Ondo peoples to embrace peace during the conduct of the polls.
Speaking to newsmen during a press briefing organized by the group in its Lagos office, SONPED ‘s Executive Secretary and Coordinator, Mr. George Utomhim said: ” True peaceful, free and fair election are the only pre-requisites for democracy. Although, polls have been major source of conflict and crisis not only in Nigeria, but in Africa, but it will gurrantee true democracy, if conducted peacefully.
” In the processes of selecting our leaders and those who will stir the machinery of governance in Edo state and other states, we must continue to give respect to the historical experience and culture of its people as a common front in finding a True peace. We must not only live by our experience, but from the focus of the experience, as the problems of crisis or conflict are but reaction to the inadequacies of the society.
” It must be noted that every society grows in response to the socio-cultural and political environments that create it, therefore, l urge the Edo and Ondo people and indeed Nigerians to embrace true Peace in the coming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo State as a prerequisite in creating people for services to society rather than services to commerce,” he said .
Uthomin, who is a legal practitioner, pledged that his organisation shall continue to use all platforms available: ” to encourage all stakeholders in the Nigerian project, particularly politicians and entrepreneurs to invest more in peace building and developmental initiative so as to strengthen the peaceful, socio-cultural and political co-existence of our people.”
Continuing, he stressed the need for government to urgently establish a mechanism for promoting peace and legislating for peace monitoring and growth in our society.
While promising further that the SONPED will intensify efforts with other peace building organisations in analyzing strategically human security problems as they apply to daily socio-cultural, political and economic lives, he identified challenges associated with polls in Nigeria which may feature in the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states as factors : “that are generated from the human security problems due to lack of communal value, loss of parental control, lack of accurate information, mistrust, biting hardship, emotional insecurity, police brutality, and unemployment among others which culminate into violent elections.”
To prevent a chaotic situation, the Coordinator of SONPED
therefore reiterated the need for a concerted effort by all in creating an initiative for a new-order that will ensure progress, adding that any society that would make progress, must first embrace peace.