By Uche Mbah
For the second time in the run up to the 2019 Presidential election, candidates vying for the Presidency under the various party platforms converged in Abuja to sign a Peace Accord. The document included the commitment of every aspirant that signed the accord to commit to peaceful election – and the acceptance of the results thereafter.
The first peace accord was signed in December, 2018, by the Presidential Candidates of political parties at the International Conference center, Abuja. It was midwifed by the National Peace Committee, headed by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar .The two Presidential front runners, Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, signed that Accord.
Today’s signing was witnessed by a coterie of international Observers and representatives of the European Union, United States and other African Heads of state. Traditional and religious leaders also graced the occasion, including the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Mathew Hassan Kukah.
The event was organized partly by the Koffi Annang Foundation, established in honor of the late former United Nations Secretary General, Koffi Annang. The occasion was specially graced by Baroness Patricia Scotland, current Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations.
This Magazine had reported that Scotland was meant to grace the occasion with former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. But Clinton canceled at the last minute, because of what sources described as the political undertone that may ring through the signing of the Accord. “Clinton may still speak, individually, with the two front liners, President Buhari and Atiku Abubarkar on Friday”, the magazine learnt.
The Peace Accord afforded the two front runners to meet face to face for the first time in several months.
Accusations and counter accusations from both leading parties, PDP and APC, have been the order of the day a in recent times, raising fears of possible violence during, and after the February 16 polls. This may have informed the co-ordinated efforts both by the International community and the Peace Committee.
After the signing, President Buhari assured all that INEC had pledged to conduct free and fair election. Most Nigerians are eager to believe him, and hold him to his promise.