The Centre for Democracy and Development has commended the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, for initiating the peace discussion which brought together the major contestants in the Sept.19 governorship election in Edo.
Ms Idayat Hassan, Director, CDD in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said the Oba took an important step to get the politicians to see the implications of their utterances and their conduct.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Hassan said CDD lauded the Benin monarch for taking the decisive and patriotic step of getting the actors to reflect on, and rethink their actions, as well as the effects of their conduct on the electoral process.
“The group noted that by lending his very weighty and influential voice to the task of de-escalating the tension in the state, the monarch has demonstrated astute leadership worthy of emulation by other monarchs across the state.
“CDD commends the monarch for ensuring that the two major parties which have been engaging in divisive, inciting and provocative rhetoric against each other, understand the damage they have been doing to peace and social order in the state.
“What the monarch told them at that meeting is the same thing civil society has been shouting about since we started noticing the rise of political tension as a result of hate speech, verbal attacks among others.
“It is clear that the political actors across board and the people of the state have immense respect for the monarch.
“We are convinced that the message of peace, orderly conduct, and sportsmanship which was well articulated by the monarch would get to not only the political leaders but also reach party supporters and voters at the grassroots.”
Hassan said that CDD equally expected the political actors to demonstrate their commitment to a peaceful and credible election by eschewing all forms of inciting exchanges, insults, and hate speech.
She urged them to show they were committed to violence-free and credible elections.
She said that if the politicians abide by the resolutions reached in the course of the meeting by the Benin monarch, CDD was confident that the tension in Edo State would be doused.
This, she said, would pave the way for voters, especially women and the marginalised to participate in the electoral process, adding that this would make the election truly free, fair, credible and democratic.
The director called on politicians to engage in governance issues instead of stoking tensions.