Friday, 27 March 2015

Polls: Jonathan, Buhari sign fresh peace pact


President Goodluck Jonathan and the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj.Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday signed a fresh peace pact ahead of tomorrow’s election.

The agreement, which is a follow-up to the January 14, 2015 Abuja accord, is a commitment by the two candidates to keep their supporters in check before, during and after the elections.
 
The fresh agreement was signed in Abuja shortly after they met behind closed-doors with the leadership of the National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections led by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar.

Jonathan and Buhari were accompanied to the event by the national, chairmen of their parties, Adamu Mu’azu (Peoples Democratic Party) and John Odigie-Oyegun (APC).

Shortly before signing the document, Abubakar said his committee had been working round the clock to assist the political parties and Nigerians to ensure that there is peace before, during and after the elections.

He recalled that Jonathan met with the committee members on Wednesday while Buhari did the same in the early hours of Thursday.

Abubakar explained that the separate meetings were held to brief them on the current situation in the country and what the committee expected of them as stakeholders and as presidential candidates.

He said, “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 am happy that both parties, the contestants are committed to free and fair elections, free of violence.’’

Under Abubakar’s supervision, the two candidates then signed three copies each of the document. The former military leader countersigned.

They shook hands and then hugged each other before displaying their copies of the agreement to reporters.

Jonathan did not speak with journalists after the event but Buhari told reporters that as the document showed, he would accept the results of the presidential poll “only if it is free, fair and credible.”

Members of the committee that witnessed the event included the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan; the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III; the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah and a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mrs. Priscilla Kuye.

The agreement titled “Renewal of our pledges to peaceful elections,” reads, “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 part 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(Thursday), 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.”
 
Source: Punch

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