Barely 24 hours to gubernatorial election in Edo State, President Muhammadu Buhari, has cautioned candidates, particularly Governor Godwin Obaseki and Osagie Ize-Iyamu against resorting to violence and bitter politics, saying all contestants must embrace true spirit of sportsmanship before, during, and after the exercise.
Obaseki, who doubles as the incumbent would be contesting under the banner of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while Ize-Iyamu is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the poll.
Other candidates include Akhigbe Ehiabi of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Ibio Emmanuel of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Lucky Idehen of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Igbineweka Osamuede of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and Amos Areloegbe of the Action Peoples Party (APP).
Others are Osifo Isaiah of the Labour Party (LP), Stevie Ozono of the Nigeria People’s Party (NRS), Felix Obayangbon of the SDP, Jones Osagiobare of Young Progressive Party (YPP), and Akhalamhe Amiemenoghena of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) among others.
But, appealing for free and fair election, Buhari advised political parties, candidates and security agents, to behave responsibly in the forthcoming gubernatorial election and ensure peace that was being enjoyed in the state remains intact.
Through a statement released to newsmen yesterday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President enjoined voters, including political parties, election officials and security personnel on the need to choose the path of peace in protecting gains of democracy in the state and by extension, the entire nation.
“I am passionately committed to free and fair elections, but my own commitment is not enough if other actors at ground zero refuse to abide by the rules.
“I want to see democratic standards in the country raised higher at every level, but these cannot be achieved when politicians resort to do or die methods to gain power by any means or machination.
“The do-or-die mentality to politics is a threat to free and fair elections because the actors are more focused on winning than caring about a fair outcome that reflects the will of the people, the statement quoted Buhari as saying in his special message to Edo people.
Furthermore, the President appealed to all political parties and their candidates to behave peacefully and respect law and order, while advising election officials and security agents “to remain neutral to ensure free and fair elections and avoid any actions capable of compromising the integrity of the elections.
“Conducting free and fair elections is one of my main concerns for our democracy, and I want this commitment to be one of the legacies I will leave behind when I depart office,” he added.