Five gubernatorial candidates in Akwa Ibom State have signed the 2023 Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Peace Pact.
The pact which was signed under the Election Violence Prevention & Mitigation (e-VIP) Project on Sunday, January 29, 2023 was designed for the candidates to publicly signify their commitment to run a violence free election coming up on February 25, 2023 and March 11, 2023 coupled with readiness to ensure a peaceful administration after elections.
The candidates who signed the Peace Pact are Senator John James Akpanudoedehe of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Arc. Ezekiel Nya-Etok of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Iboro Otu of the African Action Congress (AAC), Dr. Ekere Essien of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and Senator Bassey Albert Akpan of the Young Progressive Party (YPP). Candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All-Progressive Party (APP) declined from participating in the debate at the last hour, as such, were not present to participate in the peace pact signing.
The Peace Pact, initiated and facilitated by Youth for Change Initiative YOFCI in partnership with Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) was presented during the 2023 Akwa Ibom Governorship Debate organised by the Akwa Ibom State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).
According to the organisers, the debate was aimed at ensuring that the 2023 Elections in Akwa Ibom State is free, fair, credible, peaceful, and devoid of uncontrolled conflicts. “It is expected that through this commitment, the transition of political power from one administration to another come May 2023, would be preceded by a non-violent and credible approach by all parties taking part in the forthcoming 2023 Elections”, the organisers noted.
Speaking during the Debate, the Executive Director of YOFCI who also doubled as a consultant to PIND on its Collaborative Nonviolence Election Project in Akwa Ibom State sponsored project at the occasion, Amb. Peace Edem said: “The 2023 Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Peace Pact under the Election Violence Prevention & Mitigation (e-VIP) Project is to prevent and mitigate election-related violence that is not only crucial because election violence undermines democracy and governance, but also because it harms economic and human development.”
He noted that signing the 2023 Governorship Peace Pact will inadvertently convince and compel the governorship candidates that the State needs a peaceful atmosphere for economic development to strive.
Edem explained that the peace pact signing is a commitment to peaceful electioneering processes- pre, during and post, all geared towards prevention, mitigations, and resolution of election-related conflicts in the state.
He further reiterated that the signing of a peace pact by the governorship candidates and their respective party chairmen of the major political parties present at the event is to pledge their commitments toward peaceful 2023 elections in the state.
The 2023 Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Peace Pact Signing is part of activities under the Election Violence Prevention & Mitigation (e-VIP) Project implemented by Youth for Change & Social Life Development Foundation (YOFCI). YOFCI is a youth focused non-governmental organization working towards violence prevention, mitigation, and peacebuilding in the state among other youth related issues. The e-VIP Project is currently implemented in eight (8) local government areas of Akwa Ibom State with support from PIND Foundation.