The 18 presidential candidates of Nigeria’s general election have signed a second peace accord in the capital, Abuja, in a bid to prevent unrest surrounding the February 25 polls.
The pact is to ensure “the conduct of free, fair, credible, transparent and verifiable elections cognisant of the need to maintain a peaceful environment before, during and after the 2023 general elections” and “to place national interest above personal and partisan concerns”.
An earlier agreement had been signed in September 2022, which former military head of state and retired general Abdusalam Abubakar said had been violated numerous times.
The signing, organised by the National Peace Committee and the Kukah Leadership Centre, an Abuja-based think tank, was in the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari and other African and international leaders and diplomats.
Committee officials said the accord was meant to bind political parties, candidates and their supporters to resort to constitutional means if they are dissatisfied with electoral outcomes.
Abubakar, the chairperson of the National Peace Committee, said 44 percent of the September accord’s violations “were carried out by the spokespersons for political parties, 26 percent by party members, 19 percent by the presidential candidates themselves, 11 percent by the hardcore supporters and four percent by the chairmen of the parties”.
“As a nation, we’ve got to put a stop to all this,” he said, without providing further details about the incidents.
Saturday’s race to succeed Buhari is being keenly contested.
Among the 18 candidates, four are generally accepted to be top contenders.