Abuja, Nigeria – The 18 presidential candidates of Nigeria’s general election have signed a second peace accord within the capital, Abuja, in a bid to forestall unrest surrounding the February 25 polls.
The pact is to make sure “the conduct of free, honest, credible, clear and verifiable elections cognisant of the necessity to preserve a peaceable setting earlier than, throughout and after the 2023 normal elections” and “to position nationwide curiosity above private and partisan issues”.
An earlier settlement had been signed in September 2022, which former army head of state and retired normal Abdusalam Abubakar mentioned had been violated quite a few instances.
The Tuesday night signing, organised by the Nationwide Peace Committee and the Kukah Management Centre, an Abuja-based suppose tank, was within the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari and different African and worldwide leaders and diplomats.
Committee officers mentioned the accord was meant to bind political events, candidates and their supporters to resort to constitutional means if they’re dissatisfied with electoral outcomes.
Abubakar, the chairperson of the Nationwide Peace Committee, mentioned 44 p.c of the September accord’s violations “have been carried out by the spokespersons for political events, 26 p.c by occasion members, 19 p.c by the presidential candidates themselves, 11 p.c by the hardcore supporters and 4 p.c by the chairmen of the events”.
“As a nation, we’ve acquired to place a cease to all this,” he mentioned, with out offering additional particulars in regards to the incidents.
Saturday’s race to succeed Buhari is being keenly contested.
Among the many 18 candidates, 4 are usually accepted to be prime contenders.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu, faces his former affiliate and Nigeria’s former vp Atiku Abubakar of the primary opposition Individuals’s Democratic Social gathering (PDP).
The Labour Party’s Peter Obi, has, nonetheless, emerged as a shock third candidate to problem a standard dichotomy in Nigeria’s political panorama. A fourth candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Individuals’s Social gathering (NNPP), is seen as a wild card within the race.
Tuesday’s signing was held within the presence of home and worldwide stakeholders to watch for potential violence – a standard function in Nigerian elections.
Together with the presidential candidates, members of observer missions from the African Union, European Union and the Commonwealth, and different diplomats have been current on the signing.
Additionally current have been Thabo Mbeki, Joyce Banda, Uhuru Kenyatta, John Mahama and Ernest Bai Koroma, the previous presidents of South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Ghana and Sierra Leone respectively who’re heading overseas observer missions.
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, one other member of the committee additionally attended, as was Patricia Scott, secretary-general of the Commonwealth and a consultant of the United Nations secretary-general.
President Buhari urged all of the contestants to have the “confidence to belief our authorized techniques”.
”Let me remind all Nigerians not for the primary time that that is the one nation we have now and we should do every little thing to maintain it protected, united and peaceable,” he mentioned. “There needs to be no riots or acts of violence after the announcement of the election outcomes. All grievances, private or institutional, needs to be channelled to the related courts.”
Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee, mentioned election preparations have been nicely below approach with poll papers and different supplies being moved to polling models nationwide.
“By Friday we are going to activate the registration space centres so that initially gentle on Saturday, polling models will open on time.”