President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have signed another peace accord at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, ahead of the February 16 presidential election.
Also present at the peace accord signing is the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, and Abdulsalami Abubakar who is the chairman of the National Peace Committee.
Patricia Scotland, the secretary-general of the Commonwealth; Mathew Kukah, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, as well as other members of the National Peace Committee (NPC), are in attendance.
Yakubu Gowon, former head of state, is also present at the ICC to witness the historic event.
President Buhari, at the signing of the peace accord, addressed Nigerians ahead of the presidential election.
Here are six key points from the president’s remark:
1. Anxiety as elections approach
President Buhari noted the growing anxiety within and outside Nigeria as the elections approach saying the development “is typical of any form of competition and contest, no matter how well prepared all contestants and regulators are.”
He stressed the importance of the elections for Nigeria’s democratic development while also noting that the election that brought him in 2015 was one of the most peaceful in Nigeria’s history.
2. Increased participation of women and youth in the democratic process
President Buhari also noted that the forthcoming 2019 elections are witnessing increased participation of women and youth in the democratic process, a development he attributed to his signing of the Not Too Young to Run Bill in 2018. He also noted that the number of political parties has increased as we now “…have 91 political parties, out of which over 70 fielded presidential candidates,” saying it evident that Nigeria “moving forward and that our democracy is expanding and also deepening”.
3. Elections by themselves do not constitute democracy
President Buhari said elections only do not constitute democracy, urging Nigerians to more active in the political process “beyond the mere casting of votes.” He said that it is active citizen participation that will lead to good governance.
4. The essence of the Peace Accord
He said the essence of the peace accord is for all the presidential candidates to “commit ourselves to do all that is possible to ensure the success of the elections but most importantly to accept the final outcome”.
He appealed to his fellow contestants to commit to the peace accord, noting that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has already given an assurance that it has done everything possible to ensure free and fair elections.
He added that he had “made sure that INEC received all the resources they needed to perform their job” and security agencies are also fully prepared.
5. Special appeal to young Nigerians
President Buhari appealed to the Nigerian youths to ensure they are not used by politicians to cause violence. He urged the youths to cooperate with all the relevant agencies during the elections.
President Buhari used the opportunity to pray for the souls of some Nigerians that lost their lives during the campaigns by the various political parties. As the campaigns fold up, the president urged every eligible Nigerian to go out and vote for their preferred candidates.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng has earlier reported that President Buhari and Atiku met in person at International Conference Center in Abuja to sign the national peace accord for the second time.
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