Former President and Head of the ECOWAS Observation Team to Nigeria Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and other foreign electoral observers witnessed the signing of a peace accord ahead of the February 16, 2019, Presidential and National Assembly elections, a release has said.
A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja said the signing of the peace pact was held on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at the International Conference Center (ICC) in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and other candidates in the February 16 presidential elections have agreed to accept the outcome of free, fair and credible elections, the release said.
While signing the peace accord, President Buhari and the other candidates also pledged to ensure that the polls are conducted peacefully, according to the release.
The event was organized by the National Peace Committee under the chairmanship of former Nigerian Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Former President Sirleaf and other former presidents, including former Tanzanian President and the leader of Commonwealth Observer Group Jakaya Kikwete, as well as the former President of Botswana and head of the Democratic National Institute and Republic National Institute Festus Moghai and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland, among others, attended and witnessed the event.
After signing the accord, President Buhari said: “We, the presidential candidates, are here to sign and commit ourselves to do all that is possible to ensure the success of the elections, but most importantly to accept the final outcome. I appeal to my fellow contestants to commit to these ideals so as to keep our country and people safe.”
According to the release, the Nigerian President appealed to the youth not to allow themselves to be used as instruments of violence, noting: “We will vote according to parties, but in the end, the only real party is Nigeria, our country.”
Atiku Abubakar, seen as President Buhari’s main rival, added: “Every candidate must remember that this election is about the future of Nigeria; therefore, we must abide by the will of the people as freely expressed through elections under the terms of our Constitution.”
Mr. Abubakar said that former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement remains a benchmark for him, taking into account the deep feelings that prevail as the election approaches.
“My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian,” he said, quoting the former Nigerian President.
“Consequently, I also appeal to President Buhari to use his good offices to ensure that every eligible person who casts their vote is confident in the process and in the belief that their vote will count,” he added.
Gen. Abdulsalami said: “As leaders of political parties with extensive followership, you have the potential to help build peace and keep it, but on the other hand, you also have the potential to create and fuel conflict in the polity. You must not do anything to make a bad situation worse. You must lead by example.”
The February 16, 2019, general elections will elect the president, the vice president and members of the National Assembly, while the elections for governorship and State Houses of Assembly are due on March 2, 2019, the release added.