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Nigeria's contesting parties sign second accord on peaceful polls

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Abuja, Nigeria, February 14  (Infosplusgabon) - Nigeria’s President and candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President and candidate of the major opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, as well as candidates of other political parties contesting Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections on Wednesday signed the second peace accord aimed at having a peaceful election in Nigeria.

 

 

The historic signing ceremony was witnessed by former Liberian president, Ms Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is leading the ECOWAS observer mission, former president of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete, who heads the Commonwealth Observer Mission and Festus Moghae, former president of Botswana who is heading the Democratic National Institute and Republic National Institute.

 

The event was also attended by several top traditional rulers and other Nigerian notable citizens.

 

Nigeria holds the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday while the Governorship and State legislative elections hold on March 2, 2019.

 

Chairman of Nigeria’s National Peace Committee and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, said that the committee decided to organise the signing of the peace accord in order to ensure peaceful conduct for all elections in the country.

 

Abdulsalami said in his welcome remarks that elections will not hold in the absence of peaceful atmosphere, noting that even governance after election will not be peaceful without a peaceful environment.

 

“Don’t make anything to make a bad situation worse,” he said.

 

Abdulsalami stated that disharmony among political parties retards Nigeria’s development, adding that “without cooperation among political parties, we are going nowhere.”

 

Nigeria’s former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, also urged the candidates to tell their supporters to ensure peaceful conduct during the elections so that in the future, there may be no need for foreign observers because the right conduct would have been assured.

 

Sounding spiritual, Gowon prayed: “May the winner be as dictated from above.”

 

In her remarks, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Ms Patricia Scotland, said that millions of people across the world are praying for Nigeria and its people, hoping that the forthcoming election will hold peacefully.

 

Noting that Saturday’s election will be the sixth since 1999 when the country returned to democracy after military rule, Ms Scotland said she was hopeful that the poll will entrench and build on the gains achieved since 1999.

 

Scotland said for those born after 1999, this year’s election will be the first time to exercise their right and determine who rules Nigeria.

 

Stating that all concerned should not fail to ensure a credible and transparent election, the Commonwealth scribe said that the signing ceremony was fully in line with Commonwealth values.

 

Scotland noted that the world is holding their breath because Nigeria is the largest economy with the largest population in Africa, and so what happens in Nigeria affects all.

 

Adding that she is hopeful the accord will be lived up to in the coming days and beyond, she said: “It is a burden that Nigerian leaders gathered here today carry. We call on their parties, supporters and public to follow their lead. Elections will come and go, but this great Nigeria will remain.”

 

President Buhari appealed to youths to shun all forms of violence during the elections.

 

Pledging again to conduct credible elections, the President urged all stakeholders to be peaceful and law abiding, saying that “election is important. But the most important is Nigeria.”

 

The candidate of the major opposition PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), “as the umpire, to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.”

 

Atiku also urged security operatives to desist from arresting opposition political leaders as the campaign ends.

 

Admonishing President Buhari to ensure that the elections are free and fair, he said that “my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.”

 

FIN/INFOSPLUSGABON/AEZ/GABON2019

 

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