It was a high-profile ceremony graced by the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and the eighteen presidential candidates, one of whom would take over the mantle of leadership May 29, two former Heads of states, the sultan, Bishop Kukah, diplomats, several other important personalities, where the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood
It was a high-profile ceremony graced by the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and the eighteen presidential candidates, one of whom would take over the mantle of leadership May 29, two former Heads of states, the sultan, Bishop Kukah, diplomats, several other important personalities, where the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu assured the nation and the international community that election will hold on Saturday as scheduled.
President Muhammadu Buhari promised that his government will continue to maintain neutrality in election issues adding that his government had in the past allowed Nigerians to decide who should govern them.
INEC Boss Signing the Peace Accord
“INEC is ready”, Prof. Yakubu declared as he delivered a goodwill message at the signing of the 2nd National Peace Accord by Presidential candidates and party Chairman in Abuja. The solemn event organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari , former Heads of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon ,Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar ,former South African President, Dr. Tambo Mbeki, former President Dr. Joyce Banda of Malawi and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya among the galaxy of dignitaries at the historic occasion.
Prof. Yakubu who said his Commission has commenced the distribution of sensitive electoral materials and assured the audience of INEC’s neutrality stressing that the allegiance of the electoral body is to the country and Nigerians.
Chairman of NPC, General Abdulsalami Abubakar in his welcome address lamented that presidential candidates, their aides, and party officials violated the 1st Peace Accord signed on September 29,2022 stressing that there were about 60 attacks at political rallies with some people losing their lives. He reeled out other statistics showing that Presidential candidates as well as Party officials were guilty of such infractions.
He urged the Presidential candidates to accept the outcome of the election and seek legal redress if unsatisfied with the outcome of the election.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba buttressed the observations of the NPC Chairman that Police monitoring of the campaigns revealed a lot of violations and appealed to political actors to call their teeming supporters to order.
Turning to the INEC Chairman, the IGP said should we have the same scenario that happened in 2015 when Mr. Godsday Orubebe disrupted the Collation process, he should learn from Prof. Attahiru Jega and maintain his calm. The IGP warned that in line with the directive of the president, the police will not tolerate any breakdown of law and order during the elections.
Ambassador Samuels Isopi, Head of European Union delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said the world is watching Nigeria. She called on all the parties and their candidates to maintain peace and accept the outcome of the election stressing that everyone has a role to play in making the election free, fair, credible and peaceful.
Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland said 2.5billion people from 56 Commonwealth countries are interested in the nation’s electoral process adding that the this election is historic. She said the Commonwealth is with the country and would be proud of the country producing a free, fair and credible election.
In his goodwill message, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission noted that signing of Peace Accord had always contributed to reduction of violence during elections urged presidential candidates and their parties to respect the content of the Peace Accord. He disclosed that the Commission is deploying 250 electoral observers to monitor the election.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan who was in Mali on an ECOWAS assignment sent his goodwill message urging the candidates to respect the voice of Nigerians and let peace reign. He urged the police not to compromise themselves now and during the election.
Bishop Kukah who noted the presence of President Buhari at the occasion said it shows Nigeria’s seriousness to the election.
President Muhammadu Buhari assured the INEC, the police and security agencies of support urging them to be firm and courageous. He called on the presidential candidates to accept the result announced by INEC and trust the nation’s legal system.
He urged them to abide by the spirit and letter of what they signed adding that all grievances should be channeled to the relevant court.
Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *