President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have signed a second peace accord ahead of the February 16 election.
The signing ceremony is taking place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The chairman of the national peace committee, former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, said the committee decided to organise the peace accord signing in order to ensure a peaceful conduct for all elections in the country.
The Presidential and the National Assembly elections hold this Saturday, February 16th, while that of governors and members of state Houses of Assembly hold on March 2, 2019.
Abdulsalami in his welcome remarks said elections will not hold in the absence of a peaceful atmosphere.
“Don’t do anything to make a bad situation worse,” he said.
The former head of state said disharmony among political parties retards Nigeria’s development.
“Without cooperation among political parties, we are going nowhere,” he said.
The former head of state reminded the presidential candidates that, by signing the peace accord, they are committing themselves to ensuring a peaceful election in Nigeria.
According to him, mere signing of the peace accord will not achieve the required objective “unless all other actors are forced to work with the same rules.”
Abdulsalami regretted the spread of misinformation in the nation’s Mosques and Churches and urged that “this must be contained.”
In his remarks, former head of state Yakubu Gowon urged candidates to tell their supporters to ensure peaceful conduct during the elections so that there would be no need for foreign observers in the future, because the right conduct would have been established.
“May the winner be as dictated from above,” the former leader said.
In her remarks, Commonwealth Secretary-General 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.
She noted that Saturday’s election would be the sixth since 1999, when the country restored democracy after decades of military rule.
Scotland said she was hopeful that the poll would entrench and build on the gains achieved since 1999.
She said that for those born after 1999, this year’s election will be the first time to exercise their right and determine who rules Nigeria, as she called for a credible and transparent process.
The signing ceremony holding is in line with commonwealth values, the Commonweath Secretary-General said.
She said the rest of world was interested in the coming elections due to Nigeria being Africa’s largest economy with the largest population.
“It is a burden that Nigerian leaders gathered here today carry.
“We call on their party, supporters and public to follow their lead.
“Elections will come and go, but this great Nigeria will remain,” Ms Scotland said.
The event is being attended by top traditional rulers and other notable dignitaries from within and outside the country.
Among those attending are former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is leading the ECOWAS observer mission, a former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, who heads the Commonwealth observer mission, and Festus Moghai, a former President of Botswana, who is heading the Democratic National Institute and Republic National Institute.