The fourteen presidential candidates, including President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progress Congress, (APC) yesterday January 14 have signed a peace pact in Abuja.
According to The Nation, they also pledged that next month’s presidential election will be violence-free, and to stop vicious campaign comments, which could affect the conduct of a free and fair election.
The pact tagged 'Abuja Declaration Accord', was signed at a sensitization workshop on non-violence organized by the Offices of the National Security Adviser and the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Affairs.
Daily Trust reports that the bond was first adopted through acclamation and then signed by all the 14 candidates. Former Commonwealth Secretary General Emeka Anyaokwu, who chaired the occasion, read the peace agreement.
The Accord commits the candidates to the following:
1. To run issue-based campaigns at national, state and local government levels devoid of religious incitement and ethnic or tribal profiling.
2. To refrain from making public statements, pronouncements, declarations or speeches that have the capacity to incite any form of violence before, during and after the election.
3. To forcefully and publicly speak out against provocative utterances and oppose all acts of electoral violence, whether perpetrated by supporters and/or opponents.
4. To commit themselves and their parties to the monitoring of the adherence to the accord, if necessary, by a national peace committee made up of respected statesmen and women, traditional and religious leaders.
5. All the institutions of government including INEC and security agencies must act and be seen to act with impartiality”.
Anyaoku said the objective of the workshop was to give all the contestants an opportunity for constructive criticism on how to ensure violence-free elections.
He said: “Regrettably, we cannot deny that in our country we have history of violence occurring before, during and after elections.
Mr. Kofi Annan, a former United Nations Secretary-General, in a keynote address, urged the aspirants to avoid inflammatory statements as the elections would afford the country the opportunity to “prove itself before the international community”.
Others present at the session were ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Muhammad Lawal Uwais, APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, PDP National Chairman Adamu Muazu, Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, ex-Governor Kayode Fayemi, Senator Bukola Saraki, Senator Ben Obi, General Isaac Obiakor, Chief Tom Ikimi and Chief Ojo Maduekwe.