Accept polls outcome, Buhari tells presidential candidates

ebcab president buhari
ebcab president buhari

Political parties and their standard bearers, on Wednesday, signed the  second national peace accord with a promise to ensure a peaceful election and also accept the outcome.

They included the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress,  Bola Tinubu,  candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi; candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

The event, which took place at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, was organised and supervised by the National Peace Committee, headed by  former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), and the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and Founder of The Kukah Centre, Matthew Hassan Kukah.

The event was also attended by members of the diplomatic community, particularly former President of Switzerland Ms. Doris Leuthard;  Ambassador of the European Union, Samuela Isopi; United Nations, ECOWAS, UNOWAS, and other ambassadors.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rerd.), in his message, advised all contestants and their political parties to respect the choice of voters and accept the result of the elections as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

He reminded Nigerians that they had no other country outside Nigeria, tasking the contestants and their parties to do everything to keep it safe, united and peaceful, also urging them to shun riots or acts of violence after the announcement of the election results.

Buhari told them to channel all grievances, personal or institutional, to the relevant courts.

He assured INEC, security agencies and all relevant institutions saddled with responsibility of conducting the elections of his administration’s support just as he tasked them to be firm and courageous, and to abide by the laws and constitutional provisions in conducting the elections.

Buhari said, “I would first like to thank the Chairman of the National Peace Committee and all the members; very distinguished Nigerians, for their commitment and sacrifices to support peaceful elections in Nigeria.

“Back in September 2022, the chairman respectfully asked me to deliver a goodwill message in support of issue-based and peaceful campaigns and political rallies devoid of insults and personal attacks. This is at the very heart of my personal belief and conviction, that we need to dwell more on issues that are fundamental to the heart of Nigerians.

“Despite having no financial support from the government, the Peace Committee has remained steadfast, working with relevant agencies to provide moral compass and serve as an independent agency for alternative dispute resolution on the electoral process. I commend the committee’s commitment and loyalty not only to the electoral process but also to peace generally in Nigeria.

“I am aware of the deep concerns that have been raised about the conduct of the 2023 general elections and the outcomes they may throw up. However, since my assumption into office, my government has worked so hard to ensure that we pass on a legacy of free, fair, credible, safe, and peaceful elections. We will continue to act with neutrality and allow the rule of law to take precedence over political expediency. We have demonstrated that with the off-circle elections in Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states. We allowed Nigerians to decide who should govern them. We are committed to this legacy till  the very last day of my administration.

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“I want to assure INEC, the security agencies and all relevant institutions saddled with responsibility of conducting the elections of my administrations continuous support. I  ask you to be firm and courageous, and to abide by the laws and constitutional provisions in conducting the elections. We must constantly improve our electoral process using technology and all the positive elements it brings to consolidate the integrity of the elections.”

Buhari called on the  candidates “to respect the choice of voters and accept the result of the elections as announced by INEC, the agency empowered by law to do so.”

“Any aggrieved candidate should resort to the established judicial processes, and we must have the confidence to trust our legal systems.

“I, once again, ask the candidates to abide by the spirit and letter of the accord they have signed unto today.”

He advised against violence, saying “all grievances, personal or institutional, should be channeled to the relevant courts.”

Abdulsalami said despite the first peace accord signed on September 29, 2022 by candidates, “there was lack of compliance by the major political parties. 44 per cent of the violations were carried out by the spokespersons for the political parties; 26 per cent by party members; 19 per cent by the presidential candidates themselves; 11 per cent by hardcore supporters and four per cent by chairmen of the parties.”

He added, “I urge all political parties, presidential candidates, and indeed all Nigerians, to avoid the temptation of the use of polls that are not credible to cause confusion in the polity.

 “I call on all political actors, key stakeholders, and Nigerians in general to support a peaceful transition, promote the ideals of peace and a violence-free post-election period. I urge all politicians who will sign the accord to fully commit themselves to the letter and spirit of the accord. “

Also speaking, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, expressed happiness that the National Peace Committee had played  very vital roles in the nation’s electoral processes, noting that the development had positively enhanced Nigeria’s democratic experiment.

He said, “I passionately appeal to the political actors to embrace peace and be civil in the engagements before, during and after the elections.“

On his part, former President Goodluck Jonathan, whose message was read at the event,  tasked the candidates to abide by the spirit of the accord, recalling that he and Buhari went through a similar process in 2015.

 The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, reiterated the readiness of the commission to conduct this year’s general elections as scheduled.

He  revealed that by Friday, INEC would activate the Registration Area Centres,  “so that at first light on Saturday, Polling Units will open on time.”

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