Ahead of Osun Sept. 22 governorship election, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on stakeholders to ensure a violence-free poll in the state.
Mr Samuel Bwalya, the UNDP Country Director, made the call in Ibadan at the ongoing stakeholders’ dialogue for traditional rulers, religious leaders, political leaders and civil society on the forthcoming Osun gubernatorial election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was organised by the UNDP in conjunction with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bwalya said the peaceful conduct of the election was not only important to the residents of the state, but also to all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria globally.
He said a free, fair and credible election would promote peaceful co-existence, build strong institutions and foster sustainable development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
The UNDP official, who noted that the Osun governorship election would be a strong indicator of what to expect in the 2019 general elections, said the election must be violence-free.
“We all, therefore, have critical roles to play to ensure that the election is conducted in an atmosphere of peace, stability and in the spirit of sportsmanship by all the contestants, their teeming supporters and the civil populace,’’ Bwalya said.
He said the programme was organised to sensitise and increase public knowledge on the dangers of violence before, during and after the election.
“It is our hope that this investment in democratic governance and peace will help the government and people of the state to live in peace and harmony.
“Also, we hope that the coming gubernatorial election is conducted in a rancor-free atmosphere to lay a good example for other states to emulate in the 2019 general elections,’’ Bwalya said.
In his remarks, Gov. Rauf Aregbesola urged the monarchs and religious leaders in the state to ensure that the governorship election was held under a peaceful atmosphere.
Aregbesola said that traditional rulers could only reign and perform their roles in a peaceful atmosphere, hence the need for them to support peaceful election.