The process towards a peaceful conduct of 2019 general elections was further consolidated on Wednesday as President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the presidential candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as 71 others signed the second peace accord in Abuja.
The historic event which was witnessed by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Patricia Scotland, the representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Ibn Chmaba, former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is head of the ECOWAS Observer Mission to Nigeria 2019 general elections, former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, who is leading the Commonwealth Observer Mission and Mr. Festus Moghai, who is former President of Botswana and head of the Democratic National Institute and Republic National Institute.
The historic event was also attended by several top traditional rulers, important dignitaries and other notable from within and outside Nigeria.
Speaking after signing the Peace Accord, President Buhari appealed to youth to shun all forms of violence during the elections just as he urged all stakeholders to be peaceful and law abiding.
Buhari promised a credible election, saying that elections is important and political parties would be voted for, the greatest and most important political party remains Nigeria.
Earlier, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as the election umpire to ensure a free, fair and peaceful elections.
Atiku also challenged security agencies to desist from arresting opposition political leaders as the campaign ends and enjoined them to allow Nigerians elect leaders of their choice that must not be dictated by security personnel.
The PDP presidential candidate particularly appealed to President Buhari to ensure the elections are free and fair.
Earlier, the chairman of the National Peace Committee and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, said the committee decided to organise the 2nd peace accord signing to ensure a peaceful conduct for all elections in the country.
Abubakar also said elections cannot hold in the absence of a peaceful atmosphere, adding that even governance after election will not be peaceful without a peaceful environment.
He further said; “Disharmony among political parties retards Nigeria’s development. Without cooperation among political parties, we are going nowhere,”
Speaking in turn, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland expressed hope that the poll will entrench and build on the gains achieved since 1999, adding that millions of people across the world are praying for Nigeria and its people hoping that the forthcoming election will hold peacefully.
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, adding that all concerned should not fail them by ensuring a credible and transparent election.
The Commonwealth Secretary General said the Peace Accord signing ceremony is in line with commonwealth values, adding that the world is holding their breath because Nigeria is the largest economy with the largest population.
According to her; “What happens in Nigeria affects all and we are hopeful that this peace 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.
Also speaking at the event, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), urged the candidate to tell Nigerians particularly 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.