By Richard Akintade, Osogbo
In order to have a violence free election in the forthcoming governorship election in Osun State, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Osun State Command has organised a stakeholders summit.
The summit which was held at the NSCDC State Headquarters, Ilesha Road, Osogbo, was organised by the Peace and Conflict Management Unit, with the theme: “Violence Free Election in Osun State; Our Collective Responsibilities.”
Assistant Commandant General (ACG) Adeyinka Fasiu, the NSCDC Zonal Commander, Zone J, said credible and fair election is possible in the state, if all
political gladiators could play by the rules. ACG Adeyinka while explaining the importance of violence free elections and the preparedness of the Corps, emphasized the need for all stakeholders in the electoral process to collectively play their parts in achieving the same goal of a credible gubernatorial election and safeguarding our communities before, during and after the polls.
ACG Adeyinka also appealed to the youths to shun thuggery and not to allow themselves to be used as agents of destruction during the election.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Osun State Command, Commandant Emmanuel Ocheja appealed to politicians and the electorates to ensure that the forthcoming election in the state is conducted under a peaceful atmosphere.
Commandant Ocheja who noted that the security agencies would be all out during the polls to maintain peace, protect critical national infrastructure and INEC officials and electoral materials. He warned that anyone caught perpetrating violence would be dealt with in line with the law.
Commandant Ocheja said the summit was put in place to educate political stakeholders on the need to maintain peace during the election. He also appealed to parents and guardians to warn their children not to allow themselves to be used as thugs during the election, noting that the Command would do everything possible to protect the electorates.
While appreciating the Commandant for his support and advocacy for peaceful elections, the Head of Conflict Management Unit of the Command, Assistant Commandant of Corps (ACC) Abere Oluwafemi, said the summit was put in place to ensure violence free elections in the state.
ACC Abere urged political stakeholders to eschew violence, embrace peace and allow the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to do its job.
In his own observation, the State Coordinator of National Orientation Agency (NOA) Mr Abiodun Oluropo, who is the Guest speaker for the program, said for the election to be violence free, all political gladiators as well as the general public must play politics according to the electoral laws and the Constitution.
Oluropo said political parties must also educate their followers to shun inflammatory utterances during the campaign, while security agents must also uphold the tenets of their duties and exhibit professionalism during the polls.
He assured that NOA as an agent saddled with sensitising and orientating the citizenry on their civic responsibilities had doubled its efforts in discharging its mandate towards free and credible elections, using the opportunity to appeal to the citizenry to rise on their feet to reject any form of inducement, from politicians during the election.
He also appealed to political stakeholders to shun rigging, fake news, cheating, money inducement, double standard, vote buying, among others, in order not to trigger election violence.
Similarly, the State Coordinator of the NYSC, Mrs Ngozi Shokpeka, appealed to security agencies, as well as politicians, to protect Corps members that would be participating in the election.
Mrs Shokpeka said the protection of the Corps members is paramount to the management of the NYSC.
Representatives of political parties, traditional rulers, INEC representatives, NYSC, market women leaders,among others were present at the summit.