The Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Cross River says the signing of peace accord by all governorship candidates in the state is necessary.
The Governorship candidate of the SDP in the state, Mr Eyo Ekpo, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Monday.
He said that the 2019 elections in Cross River would be competitive.
Ekpo said that the SDP had watched with great concern as the major parties in the state had decided to outwit themselves.
According to him, it is not the SDP that should be asking for a peace accord, it is the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); because they are the ones in power at the national and state levels respectively.
He said that both parties should be making the statement that this election would be peacefully conducted by telling their supporters not to thread the part of violence.
Ekpo said that once violence started, it would be difficult to end it.
“I know how difficult it was in 2003 during the campaigns, when cultism reared its ugly head in Cross River.
“I know what I had to do as the then Attorney-General of the state in collaboration with the security agencies to temper the aftermath.
“It was a violent election in the state, particularly in the state capital, Calabar. We don’t want a repeat of that,’’ he said.
The SDP chieftain noted that the APC called a news conference to complain about destruction of billboards.
“What I see is a leadership in the state that does not have the moral character to stand out there to say violence, cultism and militancy will not be part of this state.
“We have seen violence across the state but we don’t see the governor making clear and firm statements and then take action.
“So, I am worried as desperation is setting in because they never expected to get the kind of challenge they are getting from the other parties like the SDP.
“When people who consider themselves as mainstream politicians but are bereft of ideas, become desperate, they resort to violence.
“Our governor, after four years, does not understand governance because the call made some days ago to the Commissioner of Police in the state to search campaign convoys was a panic measure,” Ekpo said.
According to him, the call was supposed to come from the Commissioner of Police if it was necessary.
“I can’t speak for other parties, but we in SDP want to follow a peace accord to the letter.
“I rather step out of the race than involve myself or anyone in my team in violence,’’ he said.