***Commends Peace Initiative By Oba of Benin
A frontline pro-democracy think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has commended the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II for initiating the peace discussion, which recently brought together the major contestants in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
CDD lauded the Benin monarch for taking the decisive and patriotic step of getting the partisan actors to reflect on, and rethink their actions, as well as the effects of their conduct on the electoral process.
The group who made this known on Monday in a statement signed noted that the monarch decision will help to reduced tension in the state ahead of the GUBER poll.
“By klending his (Oba of Benin) 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.
“We commended the monarch for ensuring 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.
“We are very pleased that the Benin monarch, His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare II has taken this important step to get the politicians to see the implications of their utterances and their conduct. 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 and the incitement of young people to engage in violent confrontation of perceived political opponents.
“It is clear that the political actors across the 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 should get to not only the political leaders; this important message should also reach party supporters and voters at the grassroots.
“CDD equally expects the political actors to demonstrate their commitment to a peaceful and credible election by eschewing all forms of inciting exchanges, insults, hate speech and show they are now committed to violence free-elections, and credible elections.
“If the politicians abide by the resolutions reached in the course of this noble convening by the Benin monarch, CDD is confident that the tension in Edo State will be doused, paving the way for voters, especially women and other historically marginalized to participate in the electoral process. This will make the election truly free, fair, credible and democratic.”End