The two leading candidates in Saturday’s presidential election have signed another peace accord in Abuja, promising to accept the outcome of “free, fair and credible elections”.
The accord, initiated by the National Peace Committee, was signed Thursday by President Goodluck Jonathan, the candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and his main challenger, Muhammadu Buhari of the opposition All Progressives Congress.
“We call on INEC and all security agencies to ensure strict adherence to their constitutional roles,” Messrs Buhari and Jonathan said in a joint statement released after the agreement signing ceremony. “We also pledge to respect the outcome of free, fair and credible elections.”
The agreement, just like the one they signed on January 14, contained an undertaking by the parties to avoid actions that could promote violence during and after the polls.
Now that the campaigns have come to an end, we meet today to renew our pledge for peaceful elections,” the statement said. “We therefore call on all fellow citizens of our dear country, and our supporters, to refrain from violence or any acts that may in any way jeopardise our collective vision of a free, fair and credible election.”
The National Peace Committee is led by a former Military Head of State, Abdusalami Abubakar, under whose supervision Thurday’s pact was signed.
The agreement signing ceremony held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel and the presidential candidates were accompanied to the venue by the national chairmen of their parties: Adamu Muazu [PDP] and John Oyegun [APC].
The two leading candidates had on January 14, at another event attended by former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Anan, and former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku, openly spoke against violence and committed to a peaceful poll.
Other political parties that signed the January 14 non-violence pact included the Action Alliance, AA, Alliance for Democracy, AD, United Democratic Party, UDP, United Progressive Party, UPP, African Democratic Congress, ADC, and Hope Democratic Party, HDP.
That event was a rare meeting between Mr. Jonathan and Mr. Buhari since public campaign for the crucial elections began with a flurry of attacks between the two sides.
The two men shook hands and embraced after delivering remarks renouncing violence.
The APC and the PDP have however repeatedly accused each other of violating that agreement.
After signing the new accord Thursday, the two candidates issued a joint statement asking Nigerians to shun violence and charging the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies to abide by their constitution roles.
The statement said, “You may recall that on 14th January 2015, both of us, along with nine other party leaders, signed what has now come to be known as the Abuja Accord. The substance of that Accord was our commitment to free, fair and credible elections in our dear country.
In the Accord, we agreed to, among other things, run an issue-based campaign and pledged that our electoral campaigns will not involve any religious incitement, ethnic or tribal profiling, both by ourselves and all agents acting in our names.
Now that the campaigns have come to an end, we meet today to renew our pledge for peaceful elections. We therefore call on all fellow citizens of our dear country, and our supporters, to refrain from violence or any acts that may in any
way jeopardize our collective vision of a free, fair and credible election.
In addition, we call on INEC and all security agencies to ensure strict adherence to their constitutional roles. We also pledge to respect the outcome of free, fair and credible elections.
Today, we again renew our commitment to a united, democratic and prosperous Nigeria. We want all Nigerians to stand together at this critical phase of our nation’s history.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God bless you all.