…OBI, ATIKU, TINUBU, KWANKWASO, ATTEND EVENT
The 18 political parties on Wednesday, signed a peace accord ahead of this Saturday’s presidential election.
The Presidential candidates of the parties signed the Peace accord in the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmoud Yakubu, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba at the event along with members of the National Peace Committee in Abuja.
A high powered team of international observers witnessed the crucial event.
They are Baroness Scotland, former President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya leading the African Union Observation Mission, former President Thambo Mbeki of South Africa leading the Commonwealth Observer group, and former President Joyce Banda of Malawi.
Some of the leading candidates in attendance include Bola Tinubu (All Progressives Congress, APC), Peter Obi (Labour Party, LP), Omoyele Sowore (African Action Congress, AAC), Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party, PDP) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP).
The peace pact was organised and coordinated by the National Accord for Peace with former Head of State, retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar as Chairman.
The objective of the pact is for political parties and their candidates to accept the outcome of the election without recourse to violence and seek redress through legitimate means.
Gen. Abubakar who spoke at the event observed that the second signing at the pact by all the Presidential candidates was pertinent because some of them violated the first peace accord signed on September 29, 2022.
He noted that the candidates, the Spokespersons, supporters and party chairmen violated the terms of the first pact.
He stated also that attacks were recorded during the campaign rallies.
He said, “There was lack of compliance by the major political parties.
“Forty-four per cent of the violations were carried out by spokespersons of the political parties and 26 per cent by party members.
“Nineteen per cent of the violations were carried out by the presidential candidates themselves; 11 per cent by hard-core supporters and 4 per cent by party chairmen.
“Additionally, in January 2023, a lot of violence has occurred with at least 15 abductions (including that of a police officer) and at least, 30 killings (including those of 11 security personnel).
“There were at least six attacks at political campaign rallies.
“In December 2022, INEC said it recorded 50 attacks on its offices between 2019 and 2022.
“According to data released by INEC, there were 11 attacks on its offices in Imo, seven attacks in Osun, five each in Enugu State and Akwa Ibom.
“In each of Ebonyi, Abia and Cross River, there were four attacks on INEC offices; two attacks each in Anambra and Taraba, and one attack each in Kaduna State, Borno, Bayelsa, Ondo State, Lagos State and Ogun.
“As a nation, we have got to put a stop to all of these. That is why on Jan. 20, 2022, we convened a meeting of all presidential candidates and party chairmen.
“The meeting discussed existing and emerging issues regarding the ways campaigns were being conducted, and the need for parties to moderate their views.
“Now that the elections are only a few hours away, we are here to witness the second signing of the National Peace Accord.
“It is to commit presidential candidates and their party chairmen to accept the outcome of the elections as long as it is adjudged to be free, fair, and credible.
“It is also to commit them to seek legitimate and peaceful means of addressing any concerns that may arise thereafter.
“In this regard, I want to encourage political parties to respect that only the INEC has the Constitutional authority to announce election results.
“I also encourage the parties to ensure that their supporters refrain from disseminating fake news, misinformation, disinformation and avoid statements that will incite violence after the results of the elections have been announced,” said.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented at the event by bishop of the Arc Bishop Diocese of Sokoto Diocese, Rev Father Kukah, said that the peace pacts strengthens efforts by the independent National Electoral Commission and bodies for the conduct of credible violence free polls.
Jonathan said that a few days before the election was the appropriate time for the candidates show to their supporters that election is not war.
He recalled that he signed the pact with his successor, President Buhari and committed himself to the terms that he would accept the outcome of the election.
He stressed that leaders of goodwill embrace the peace accord to prevent violence emanating from post election disputes.
“In the build-up to the 2015 general elections, myself and my successor, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, signed a similar accord, committing ourselves to free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
“We also made it very clear in the second Peace Accord that we would abide by the outcome of the votes.
“I believe that is the way to strengthen our democracy, stave off looming violence and bring peace to our nation,’’ Jonathan stated in his message.
“This is the time for the candidates and party leaders to demonstrate goodwill and impress it on their cadres and followers that election is not war.
“Our country needs a stable and reliable democracy to be able to adequately address its challenges and provide the desired leadership that meets the expectations of our teeming populace,’’ Jonathan said
In his remarks, Kukah who is also the Convener of the National Peace Committee, said so much hope is reposed in Nigerian as shown by the growing international interest in nation’s elections.
He said that political leaders require the pressure of signing the pact for improvement in the morality of politicking.
He said, “We have five former African Heads of State here and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland,
“We thank Your Excellences and all members of the international observer missions.
“Our political actors need this pressure to compel them to raise the moral tempo of politics and to improve the quality of the lives of our people,’’ Kukah said.
Credit: THE NETWORK.