2023: Peter Obi, Kwankwaso, Tinubu, Atiku, Other Presidential Candidates Sign Peace Accord
The presidential candidates of 18 political parties have signed a peace accord in Abuja ahead of the election on Saturday.
Present on Wednesday at the signing of the peace accord were members of the National Peace Committee, as well as President Muhammadu Buhari.
Some of the presidential candidates present include Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC), Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) was represented by his vice-presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed.
By the text of the peace accord, presidential candidates make a commitment to “accept and abide by the outcome of the 2023 presidential election and if issues should arise”, to “deploy constitutional means and appeal to the courts rather than other unconstitutional means”.
In his remarks, former president, Goodluck Jonathan said the peace accord is needed to deter candidates and their allies from using instruments of misinformation to influence the election.
The former president, whose speech was read by Matthew Kukah, Catholic bishop of Sokoto, charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to ensure that the election is credible.
“This is aimed at mitigating disinformation, and misinformation during the election and in the time of the social media era,” Jonathan said.
“There is no other time than now given the considerable tension in the country as a result of the election. The election is not war. The country needs a stable democracy. The world looks up to us to get our leadership right and leadership recruitment right.”
Yakubu Gowon, former military head of state, advised the candidates to be “civil in their engagements”, adding that Nigeria is in need of a leader who is capable of “bringing and ensuring dividends of democracy to the doorsteps of the people”.
“I appeal to those who are bent on disrupting the election to reconsider their actions, to give an opportunity for just and fair resolution to the problems at hand. I wish all Nigerians a peaceful election and smooth transition of government as we had last time,” he added.
Others present were the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba, and former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, who leads the Commonwealth Election Observer Group to Nigeria.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu reiterated his commitment to conducting the elections as scheduled, while assuring Nigerians of a transparent exercise.
The IGP, in his remarks, decried the lack of compliance with the spirit of the September peace accord, which committed the candidates to issue based Campaign.
Baba appealed to political parties to rein in their supporters to ensure that the election is peaceful. He also called on the candidates to emulate Jonathan who accepted the outcome of the 2015 elections and helped keep the country’s peace.
In her remarks, the European Union (EU) ambassador to Nigeria, Samuela Isopi, urged Nigeria to lead by example and send a strong message to the world about consolidating democracy.
She called on all candidates to accept the results of the elections and seek legal redress when dissatisfied.
The Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Scotland, underscored the importance of the 2023 general elections, stressing the significant position Nigeria occupies on the continent.
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