By Joe Akwarandu, Umuahia
Speaking during the event organised at Vision Africa premises by Hope Givers Initiative in partnership with Vision Africa Radio, the Abia state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu implored the INEC to ensure free and fair elections. Ikpeazu said he stood for peace in the state and expressed confidence in the capacity of the INEC in ensuring equal playing ground.
In his address, the commissioner of police, Etim Ene Okon, who was represented by Godwin Ako, assured adequate security in the state and enjoined Abia citizens to participate fully at the elections.
Speaking, the Abia state resident electoral commissioner (REC), Dr Joseph Iloh, said the peace accord would reduce election violence in the state and stressed that INEC in Abia state would continue to propagate peace and credibility in the elections, appealing to all to eschew violence and play politics devoid of bitterness.
Dr Iloh revealed that the commission would ensure a level-playing ground for all contestants.
Earlier, in his address, the founder and President of Vision Africa, Bishop Sunday Ndukwe Onuoha, called on politicians to deploy issue-based campaign and avoid hate speech and unguarded utterances, urging the candidates not to allow the outcome of the election to divide Abia state.
The organiser of the event, Onyeka Udegbulam enjoined the contestants to talk to their followers and ensure no violence is witnessed in the state, stressing that it was incumbent on the candidates to calm their supporters down and ensure peace reigned.
Of all the functional 37 political parties in Abia state, only nine candidates, including the three leading governorship contestants, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu (PDP), Dr Alex Otti (APGA) and Dr Uchechukwu Ogah (APC), were present at the signing of the peace accord. Four doves were released signifying peace in Abia state.