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‘To accept election outcome’ — presidential candidates sign peace accord

BY Kunle Daramola

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Candidates from 18 political parties participating in the presidential election scheduled for February 25 have signed a peace accord in Abuja.

Present at the signing of the peace accord were members of the National Peace Committee, as well as President Muhammadu Buhari.

Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC), Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were among the presidential candidates present.

By the text of the peace accord, presidential candidates make a commitment to “accept and abide by the outcome of the 2023 presidential election and if issues should arise”, to “deploy constitutional means and appeal to the courts rather than other unconstitutional means”.

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In his remarks, Goodluck Jonathan, former president, said the peace accord is needed to deter candidates and their allies from using instruments of misinformation to influence the election.

The former president, whose speech was read by Matthew Kukah, Catholic bishop of Sokoto, charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to ensure that the election is credible.

“This is aimed at mitigating disinformation, and misinformation during the election and in the time of the social media era,” Jonathan said.

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“There is no other time than now given the considerable tension in the country as a result of the election. The election is not war. The country needs a stable democracy. The world looks up to us to get our leadership right and leadership recruitment right.”

Yakubu Gowon, former military head of state, advised the candidates to be “civil in their engagements”, adding that Nigeria is in need of a leader who is capable of “bringing and ensuring dividends of democracy to the doorsteps of the people”.

“I appeal to those who are bent on disrupting the election to reconsider their actions, to give an opportunity for just and fair resolution to the problems at hand. I wish all Nigerians a peaceful election and smooth transition of government as we had last time,” he added.

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