ABUJA – In what could be described as 11th Hour efforts, President Goodluck Jonathan and Maj. Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (retd.) engaged in a bear hug after renewing their earlier peace accord, to thaw heated rivalry between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressive Congress in the build up to the 2015 general elections.
The duo are top candidates for the March 28 presidential elections. Earlier, on January 14, 2015, all the presidential aspirants for the March 28, 2015 poll and the leaders of their political parties had signed an undertaking to avoid actions that could endorse violence before, during and after the elections. The agreement is popularly referred to as the Abuja Accord.
However, yesterday renewal of the Abuja Accord took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja also at the instance of the Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar‎’s led ‎National Peace Committee on 2015 Elections.
President Jonathan, presidential candidate for PDP and his challenger, Gen. Buhari of the APC have pledged to accept the outcome of Saturday, March 28, 2015 presidential election after the early morning closed door meeting that preceded the Abuja Accord renewal. Just like the first meeting, they again shook hands and hug each other at the venue.
The peace pact: “Renewal of our pledges to peaceful elections. Joint statement issued by His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan and Major General Muhammad Buhari on Thursday, March 26, 2015 ahead of the 2015 presidential elections”, was read to the audience by Bishop Mathew Kukah, Catholic Church Bishop of Sokoto diocese thus:
“You may recall that on 14th January 2015, both of us, long with nine other party leaders signed what has now come to be known as the Abuja Accord.
The substance of that Accord was our commitment to free, fair and credible elections in our dear country.
In the Accord, we agreed to, among other things, run an issue-based campaign and pledged that our electoral campaigns will not involve any religious incitement, ethnic or tribal profiling, both by ourselves and all agents acting in our names.
Now that the campaigns have come to an end, we meet today to renew our pledge for peaceful elections.
We therefore call on all fellow citizens of our dear country, and our part supporters, to refrain from violence or any acts that may in any way jeopardise our collective vision of a free, fair and credible election.
In addition, we call on INEC and all security agencies to ensure strict adherence to their constitutional roles. We also pledge to respect the outcome of free, fair and credible elections.
Today, we again renew our commitment to a united, democratic and prosperous Nigeria. We want to all Nigerians to stand together at this critical phase of our nation’s history.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God bless you all. Signed by Jonathan, Buhari and Abdusalam Abubakar.”
President Jonathan had on Wednesday, in a meeting with Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar and other members of the National Committee on Peaceful Elections, over issues bordering on the 2015 general elections, expressed his willingness to meet and sign another peace accord with Gen. Buhari, his arc rival.
According to the president, his willingness to sign another peace pact further emphasizes his total commitment to a violence-free election on Saturday.
However, in his remarks, after yesterday’s event, Gen. Abubakar explained that the peace committee was set up after the Abuja Accord of January 14, 2015, adding that his committee had been working round the clock to help political parties and Nigerians to ensure peace and harmony before, during and after the elections.
“Mr. President was kind enough to see us yesterday (Wednesday); one, he is the President of the country and secondly, he is a contestant. This morning, Gen. Buhari despite his late arrival last night or early arrival this morning, was kind enough to meet with this committee.
In essence, all the meetings were held to brief them on the current situation of the country and what we expect of them as stakeholders and as presidential candidates.
I want to thank both the president and Gen. Buhari for finding time to meet with the committee; and I want to thank both party chairmen for the support received in trying to send this message of peace.
I’m happy both parties, the contestants, are committed to free and fair elections, free of violence; and this morning, a document to reiterate their commitments for this peaceful and for the forthcoming elections”.
ENDS.
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