Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), and former vice President Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, as well as candidates of other parties, on Wednesday, signed the second peace accord aimed at having a peaceful election.
The signing ceremony is set to take place at the International Conference Centre Abuja.
The chairman of the national peace committee, former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar said the committee decided to organise the peace accord signing in order to ensure a peaceful conduct for all elections in the country.
The Presidential and the National Assembly elections hold this Saturday, February 16th, while that of governors and members of state Houses of Assembly hold on March 2, 2019.
Abdulsalami in his welcome remarks said elections will not hold in the absence of peaceful atmosphere, noting that even governance after election will not be peaceful without a peaceful environment.
“Don’t make anything to make a bad situation worse,” he said.
The former head of state said disharmony among political parties retards Nigeria’s development.
“Without cooperation among political parties, we are going nowhere,” he said.
The former head of state reminded the presidential candidates that by signing the peace accord, they are committing themselves to ensuring a peaceful election in Nigeria.
According to him, mere signing of the peace accord will not achieve the required objective “unless all other actor are forced to work with the same rules”.
Abdulsalami regretted the spread of misinformation in the nation’s Mosques and Churches and urged that “this must be contained”.
In his remarks, the former head of state, Yakubu Gowon, also urged the candidate to tell Nigerians who are their supporters to ensure peaceful conduct during the elections so that in the future, there may be no need for foreign observers because the right conduct would have been assured.
“May the winner be as dictated from above,” he said.
In her remarks, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland said that millions of people across the world are praying for Nigeria and its people hoping that the forthcoming election will hold peacefully.
She noted that Saturdays election will be the sixth since 1999 when the country returns to democracy after military rule.
She said she was hopeful that the poll will entrench and build on the gains achieved since 1999.
Scotland said for those born after 1999, this year’s election will be the first time to exercise their right and determine who rules Nigeria.
She said all concerned should not fail them by ensuring a credible and transparent election.
She said the signing ceremony holding today is fully in line with commonwealth values.
She said the world is holding their breath because Nigeria is the largest economy with the largest population.
She said what happens in Nigeria affects all and that she was hopeful that accord will be lived up to in the coming days and beyond.
“It is a burden that Nigerian leaders gathered here today carry.
“We call on their party, supporters and public to follow their lead.
“Elections will come and go, but this great Nigeria will remain,” Ms Scotland said.
The event is also being attended by several top traditional rulers and other notable citizens from Nigerian and outside.
Among those attending the event are Former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is leading the ECOWAS observer mission, a former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, who heads the Commonwealth observer mission and
Festus Moghai a former President of Botswana who is heading the Democratic National Institute and Republic National Institute.