The major political parties in Igbo-Eze North Local Council of Enugu State have entered into a peace accord to ensure peaceful, free, fair and transparent governorship and State Assembly elections in the area on March 18, 2023.
The accord was reached against the backdrop of rising security threats in the area, which has led to the deployment of soldiers and policemen after the declaration of state of emergency in the area by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Leaders of the three leading parties – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Labour Party (LP) – met with traditional rulers from about 37 communities at the palace of the traditional ruler of Essodo Kingdom and former Chairman of the Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Simeon Osisi Itodo, where the peace accord was signed after a meeting.
The Director General of Chijioke Edeoga Gubernatorial Campaign Organisation, Fidel Ayogu; Chief Matthias Omeh and Chairman of LP in the area, William Onyeke, represented the LP at the meeting, while the ruling PDP was represented by the local council Chairman, Prince Ejike Itodo; the Zonal Chairman of the party in Enugu North Senatorial District, Chief Mike Onyeze; the party chairman in Igbo-Eze North, Alex Urama and Onyeka Eya even as the APC team was led by Ms Oby Aji.
Addressing the party stalwarts, Igwe Itodo noted that the meeting was summoned to ensure that the governorship and House of Assembly elections does not degenerate into crisis as witnessed in the area in 2003.
During the 2003 elections, some thugs attacked supporters of the governorship candidate of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Chief Fidel Ayogu at Prince Okafor Omeh’s residence leading to several deaths and the burning of several vehicles belonging to members of the party.
However, the monarch noted that the people of Igbo-Eze North are descendants of one parent and therefore should avoid any situation that could lead to the shedding of blood, adding that “anybody who did not win elections today can win tomorrow, hence it should not be a do or die affair.”
The Chairman of Igbo-Eze North Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Gabriel Agbedo and the traditional ruler of Amaja Community, Igwe Ignatius Idoko also corroborated the call for peaceful polls, appealing to traditional rulers to prevail on candidates in their areas of influence to be of good behavior before, during and after the elections.
Representatives of the political parties, who reacted to the appeals from the monarchs, all supported the call for non-violence throughout the remaining period of the campaigns and voting.