Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the the People’s Democratic Party, shook hands at the second Peace Accord in Abuja, yesterday.
At exactly 11:55am, the president signed the second peace accord, after Atiku, just as 71 other presidential candidates of other parties had signed the peace accord.
They shook hands at the prompting of former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is leading the ECOWAS observer mission.
President Buhari, in his address, urged fellow presidential candidates to commit to the final outcome as announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said: “We, presidential candidates, commit ourselves to do all that is possible to ensure the success of the elections but, most importantly, to accept the final outcome. I appeal to my fellow contestants to commit to these ideals so as to keep our country and people safe. The INEC has already assured us that they have done everything possible to ensure free and fair elections.”
The president noted that there is anxiety in the air, with regards the election, especially coming immediately after one of the most peaceful elections in the history of the country, in which he emerged the winner.
He expressed optimism that the players are matured in their disposition towards electoral outcomes, adding that it was an opportunity to grow our sense of political culture in Nigeria.
In the same vein, Atiku said just like former President Goodluck Jonathan, his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
Said Atiku: “As we prepare to sign off on this peace accord, as representatives of our party and people, may I freely quote the words of former president Goodluck Jonathan, which remains a benchmark, for me, taking into account the deep feelings that prevail; as February 16 approaches.
“My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.”
Atiku reiterated his appeal to INEC and security agencies to be impartial during the elections.
He added: “I appeal, once again, to every staff and the leadership of INEC and the Nigeria Police Force, to be fair arbiters in the upcoming elections while letting neutrality prevail.
“For emphasis, and in the spirit of fair play, I also urge our security agencies not to embark on indiscriminate arrests of members of the opposition, 24 to 48 hours before elections, as has been the case in previous elections.”
Chairman of the National Peace Committee and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, said the panel decided to organise another peace accord signing; in order to ensure peaceful conduct for all elections. Abdulsalami, in his welcome remarks, said elections would not hold in the absence of peaceful atmosphere, and noted that even governance, after election, will not be peaceful without a peaceful environment.
“Don’t do anything to make a bad situation worse,” he said. The former head of state noted that disharmony among political parties retards Nigeria’s development.
The presidential and National Assembly elections holds on Saturday, February 16, while governorship and Houses of Assembly polls hold on March 2.