The two leading candidates for the Presidential election scheduled for tomorrow, President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd) of the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday signed another peace accord, 48 hours to the election, where they affirmed their preparedness to accept the outcome of free, fair and credible elections.
The meeting was facilitated by the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee on 2015 Elections and witnessed by members of the committee, including the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, who read the statement signed by the two candidates.
“Renewal of our pledges to peaceful elections
“Joint statement issued by His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan and Major-General Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, March 26, 2015 ahead of the 2015 presidential elections.
“You may recall that on January 14, 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 party supporters, to refrain from violence or any acts that may in any way jeopardise 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.”
Both presidential candidates had on January 14, signed a peace accord witnessed by former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar said the renewal of the accord was to “reassure the world and make Nigerians understand that this country is more important than their own aspirations and that people should live and reflect these ideals.
He said: “This committee has been working round the clock to assist the parties and Nigerians to ensure that there is peace and harmony before, during and after the elections this time around.
“Mr. President was kind enough to see us yesterday (Wednesday). One, he is the President of the country and secondly, he is a contestant. And this morning, Gen. Buhari, despite his late arrival last night or early arrival this morning, was kind enough to meet with this committee.
“In essence, all the meetings were held to brief them on the current situation of the country and what we expect of them as stakeholders and as presidential candidates.
“I want to thank both the President and Gen. Buhari for finding time to meet with the committee. And I want to thank both party chairmen for the support received in trying to send this message of peace.
“I’m happy that both parties, the contestants are committed to free and fair elections, free of violence. And this morning a document to reiterate their commitment for this peaceful, free and violence-free elections was signed.”
The Department of State Services, DSS, has warned against release of elections results by unauthorised individuals and groups.
It said in a statement by its spokesperson, Mrs. Marilyn Ogar, that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was the only organisation authorised to announce election results and warned that any other person or group planning to do so should desist or face the consequences.
The DSS also asked persons without any business with the elections to stay away from the polling station, while urging the electorate to be security-conscious.