ABUJA — Following the commencement of campaigns ahead of the 2023 polls, presidential candidates across all political parties on Thursday signed a peace accord.
All the candidates and the national chairmen of their parties signed the peace accord organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) led by the former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Some of the candidates that signed the accord were Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party; Peter Obi of the Labour Party, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party.
Others were Omoyele Sowore of African Action Congress, Hamzat Al-Mustapha of Action Alliance, Sunday Adenuga of Boot Party and the only female candidate in the race, Chichi Ojei of Allied People’s Movement.
Christoper Imumolen of the Accord Party; Yabagi Sani of Action Democratic Party, Dumebi Kachikwu of African Democratic Congress, and Dan Nwanyanwu of the Zenith Labour Party were also present at the event.
Conspicuously absent was Bola Tinubu of the All progressives Congress. However, Senator Kashim Shettima, his running mate, stood in for him.
Chairman of the NPC, Abdulsalami Abubakar, said the accord was for the candidates to commit themselves to a peaceful campaign for the 2023 election.
The former head of state appealed to the 18 political parties, their presidential candidates as well as spokespersons to stick to issues-based campaigns in order not to threaten the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections.
In his remarks, Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it will vigorously monitor compliance to ensure that political parties shun abusive, intemperate or slanderous language as well as insinuations or innuendos likely to provoke a breach of the peace during the electioneering campaigns.
The INEC chairman said it was not enough to simply sign the peace accord. According to him, what was more important was for the candidates to abide by the agreement.
He urged the political parties and their candidates, to pass the message to all their members and supporters across the country for compliance.
“It is not enough to simply sign the peace accord. What is more important is to abide by its letter and spirit,” Yakubu said.
“You should similarly pass the message to all your candidates, members and supporters across the country for compliance. This will be your own way of showing appreciation for the work of the NPC and an affirmation of your contribution to electoral peace in Nigeria.”
Commending NPC for the initiative, he added: “Today, the NPC is taking another giant step by inviting parties and candidates to commit to peaceful electioneering campaigns.
“This is important considering the connection between peaceful campaign on the one hand and peaceful and credible elections on the other.
“The Commission appreciates the positive role of the NPC in the progressive improvement of our elections in Nigeria.”
President Muhammadu Buhari and former president, Goodluck Jonathan who spoke through a recorded video played at the event also tasked political actors to shun actions that could threaten the peace of the nation as they head to the field for campaigns ahead of the forthcoming elections.