The Independent National Electoral Commission in collaboration with the Inter-agency consultative committee on election security organised a peace accord on Wednesday, in Gombe.
During the mediation, the Peoples Democratic Party refused to sign the voluntary peace accord.
Speaking, the PDP Chairman, Maj. Gen. Amnon Kwaskebe (retd.), said the police have failed to protect the party and its facilities in the state.
He claimed the party’s governorship candidate, Muhammad Barde, was the “most attacked gubernatorial candidate in the state”.
PUNCH had reported that 18 political would participate in elections in the state, with 14 presenting candidates for the gubernatorial election.
The peace accord is voluntary and not mandatory for political parties to participate. However, it’s a mediation process that helps forestall violence.
He said, “Our decline to sign is a decision of the leadership of the party at the state level. All of you are aware of what has been happening to the PDP in terms of attacks on facilities. We have reported officially to all the security agencies, especially the lead security agency, but nothing was done and that is why you have seen our gubernatorial candidate is not here. I don’t blame him for not coming, I have come as party chairman.
“Our candidate is the most attacked gubernatorial candidate. We have tried to report officially without reacting and the police have not taken any action. We have declined to sign this document.”
On lack of confidence in the process, the chairman said, “we have confidence in the process but you build peace on established peace.”
In a separate interview with journalists, the Commissioner of Police, Oqua Etim, decried the decision of PDP leadership not to sign the peace accord.
“It is unfortunate that PDP out of 18 parties did not sign. It is not only their billboards that were destroyed. Is it only one political party’s billboard that was destroyed? Even churches billboards are destroyed. We have a signage agency, have they tried to find out who actually destroyed the billboards? Can billboards vote?” Etim asked.
On buying Permanent Voters Cards, Etim said it was irrelevant for political parties to buy up PVCs.
“They should stop making wild allegations, if you take ATM to the bank, do you take the pins.”
On his part, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ibrahim Umar, said buying PVCs at the moment is foolhardy.
He said, “It is very abnormal, because of technology, I don’t know what you mean by cloning PVCs.
“If you come with PVC not your own, you will not be accredited.”
On political parties’ participation, he said, “it is their wish, we are not coercing anybody. We signed the last accord in 2019 and it was successful. Gombe has 14 governorship candidates 13 signed and it fair. Since it is not compulsory.”
On his part, Governor Muhammadu Yahaya, said “as the governor, I’m the chief security officer of the state and APC is the ruling party not only in Gombe but in the entire federation. It is only when there is peace, security, and tranquility that there will be good governance, we are after good governance.”