Read both statements as the two leading presidential candidates in Nigeria sign second peace accord

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The two leading presidential candidates in Nigeria have signed a second peace accord, just three days to election day on Saturday.

President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar called for peaceful elections.

They asked their supporters to reject violence and embrace peace.

Elections in Nigeria can be unpredictable and things can easily turn violent. The highly publicized signing of a second peace accord just days to election on Saturday is another attempt to send great optics that the two leading candidates are men of peace, and not of war.

Read both statements from Atiku and Buhari as sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.

BEING STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY ATIKU ABUBAKAR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OF PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND VICE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA, 1999-2007 AT THE 2NDSIGNING CEREMONY OF THE PEACE ACCORD IN ABUJA ON WEDNESDAY, 13TH FEBRUARY 2019

Protocols

May I use this opportunity to renew my profound gratitude, firstly to my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and then to General Abdulsalami Abubakar and members of the Peace Committee for their tireless enthusiasm, dedication, and passion towards ensuring the success of this Peace Accord Process!

Our gathering here today clearly demonstrates the importance of the upcoming elections as well as how our democracy has matured, not only to our people, but also to the international community whose solidarity, Nigeria’s democracy has benefited from.

As we prepare to sign off on this Peace Accord, as representatives of our party and people, may I freely quote the words of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which remains a benchmark, for me, taking into account the deep feelings that prevail as February 16th, 2019, approaches.

“My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.”

In this context, I appeal once again to every staff and the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force, to be fair arbiters in the upcoming elections while letting neutrality prevail.

For emphasis and in the spirit of fair play, I also urge our security agencies, not to embark on indiscriminate arrests of members of the opposition, 24 to 48 hours before elections, as has been the case in previous elections.

Hopefully, our democracy should emerge stronger from this process with the 2019 elections proving better managed than the 2015 process, which was adjudged free and fair with the then opposition’s victory unobstructed

Consequently, I also appeal to the President, General Buhari, to use his good office to ensure that every eligible person who casts their vote is confident in the process and in the belief that their vote will count.

Additionally, 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.

Once again, despite concerns expressed by my party leaders concerning likely electoral malpractices and the intimidation of voters and observers, I trust that our election officials and security services will do their duty in accordance with their oath and obligations.

In conclusion, I appeal once again, to our citizens, to go out and cast their votes for the candidates of their choice, to be peaceful at all times, and confident in our democracy, its institutions and processes.

So, please go out this Saturday to vote for your future and the future of our great nation.

May God bless you and God bless Nigeria

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE FINAL SIGNING OF PEACE ACCORD ON 2019 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE ABUJA ON WEDNESDAY 13TH FEBRUARY 2019

PROTOCOLS:

Another election is upon us and not unexpectedly, there is anxiety in the air. This is typical of any form of competition and contest, no matter how well prepared all contestants and regulators are. The forthcoming elections are very special and significant for the growth of our Democracy.

2.     First, they come immediately after one of the most peaceful elections in the history of our country. I am not saying this because I was blessed to emerge as the winner. I am saying there had been a lot of fears and anxieties from within and outside Nigeria about the future of the country.  We are hopeful that this is evidence that we are all maturing in our disposition towards electoral outcomes. We see this as an opportunity to grow our sense of political culture in Nigeria.

3.     Secondly, we are witnessing an exciting development in the area of the engagement of our Youth and Women in the democratic process. Hitherto, these groups have often not been in the mainstream of our political competition.  It is in appreciation of their contribution that we passed the Not Too Young to Run Bill last year. The success of the Act is illustrated by the unprecedented number of young men and women who have stepped forward to participate in this process as Candidates at all levels. Significantly, we have witnessed also the emergence of Women as Candidates across the political space.

4.     Thirdly, these elections are taking place against the backdrop of the emergence of an unprecedented number of Political Parties. As of now, we have 91 Political Parties, out of which over 70 fielded Presidential Candidates. Although some Candidates have dropped out of the race, there is no doubt in our minds that our country is moving forward and that our democracy is expanding and also deepening.

5.     I call on all Nigerians to contribute to the building of a viable polity by more active participation well beyond the mere casting of votes. Elections by themselves do not constitute Democracy. It is the spirit of citizenship engagement that utilizes the energy of citizens towards the attainment of good governance.

6.     We have assembled here to mark the final phase of our campaigns and we are now at the doorstep of our elections. The Campaigns so far have gone well and we thank God for that. For the few incidents in which people lost their lives largely through accidents, we pray that God grants them eternal peace. Now campaigns are over and our next assignment is for us all, citizens and contestants alike, to go out and exercise our civic duties.

7.     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. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, our electoral Umpire, has already assured us that they have done everything possible to ensure free and fair elections.

7.     It was to ensure this that I made sure that INEC received all the resources they needed to perform their job. Our Security Agencies have been fully briefed and they know that their visible neutrality is key to the conduct, credibility and success of the elections.

8.     To the Rt. Honourable Patricia Scotland, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, we extend our felicitations and welcome to you. Your presence here and your friendship mean a lot to us as a country. To the Members of the Diplomatic Corps, the International Team of Monitors, again, I say, welcome to Nigeria and thank you very much for standing by us. Your presence helps to validate our process and commitment to growing our Democracy.

9.     I want to thank General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Chairman of the National Peace Committee and all his members for the hard work they have put into ensuring that our Elections are peaceful. Your great work contributed significantly in shaping the 2015 elections and we are sure that the same impact will be felt in these elections.

10.    To all our citizens, I want to thank you. As we go into the elections in few days, please let us pray for our country. Let us use this opportunity to strengthen our beliefs in a united country.  Our elections are important only to the extent that they make our country peaceful and prepare us for development.

11.    I am making a special appeal to our young people: Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence. Please eschew all forms of violence and cooperate with all the relevant agencies during these elections. We will vote according to Parties, but in the end, the only real Party is Nigeria, our country.  Our elections are important only to the extent that they make her strong. Let us do our best and ask God to bless us and our country.

Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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