Barristers & Solicitors
Accept results, avoid acrimony, Buhari tells candidates
Buhari sahel

President Muhammadu Buhari has made a passionate appeal to all the candidates for the general elections to avoid all forms of acrimony by accepting the results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

 He advised any candidate dissatisfied with the outcome of any level of the poll to seek redress in the court of law instead of taking actions that could lead to crisis.

 President Buhari also charged INEC and security agencies to be “firm and courageous” in the conduct of elections which commences on Saturday with the Presidential and National Assembly polls. 

 The President made the appeal during the signing of the Second Peace Accord organised by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar- led National Peace Committee.

All Progressives Congress Presidential candidate Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu signed the second peace accord alongside his main opponents Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Peter Obi of the Labour Party(LP) and Rabiu KwaNkwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

 The ceremony was witnessed by former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; former presidents Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Joyce Hilda Banda(Malawi); Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland; European Union Head of Delegations Samuela Isopi; Abdel Musah, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, ECOWAS Commission and Acrionaid’s Country Director, Ene Obi.

 The first peace accord was signed in September 2022 by all the presidential candidates who pledged that their politics would be devoid of insults and personal attacks.

 Assuring all the candidates that his administration would be neutral, Buhari implored them to respect the choice of voters.

 The President reiterated his administration’s commitment to leaving a “legacy of free, fair, credible, safe, and peaceful elections.”

His words: ” I am aware of the deep concerns that have been raised about the conduct of the 2023 general elections and the outcomes they may throw up.

 “However, since my assumption of office, my government has worked so hard to ensure that we pass on a legacy of free, fair, credible, safe, and peaceful elections. 

“We will continue to act with neutrality and allow the rule of law to take precedence over political expedience.

 “We demonstrated that with the off-circle elections in Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states.

 “We allowed Nigerians to decide who should govern them. We are committed to this legacy till the very last day of my administration.

 “I, therefore, implore the candidates contesting in these elections at all levels to respect the choice of voters and accept the result of the elections as announced by INEC, the agency empowered by law to do so.

 “All aggrieved candidates should seek redress through the established judicial processes and we must have the confidence to trust our legal systems.

 “I once again ask the candidates to abide by the spirit and letter of the Accord they have signed unto today (yesterday).

 “As your President, I am reminding all Nigerians that this is the only country we have, and we must do everything to keep it safe, united and peaceful.

 “There should be no riots or acts of violence after the announcement of the election results.

“All grievances, personal or institutional, should be channelled to the relevant courts.”

 The President, who also commended the Peace Committee for its “great work,” reiterated his administration’s continuous support to INEC, security agencies and other relevant institutions saddled with the responsibility of conducting the elections.

 “I, therefore, ask you to be firm and courageous and to abide by the laws and constitutional provisions in conducting the elections.

“We must constantly improve our electoral process using technology and all the positive elements it brings to consolidate the integrity of the elections,” he said.

 Buhari also noted that the peace committee had “carved a niche for itself not only in the hearts of Nigerians but is at the very centre of the electoral process.” 

 He called on all other agencies and International Development Partners to give the peace committee all the support It deserves in the election process.

Gowon, Abubakar, Jonathan, Scotland task candidates, parties

 Gowon and former President Goodluck Jonathan also called on all candidates and political party leaders to demonstrate goodwill by reminding their members and followers that the election is not a war.   

Stressing the importance of peace, Gowon said: “In every democracy peace is a critical factor that breeds political, social, and economic progress.

 “I passionately appeal to the political actors to embrace peace. And be civil in their engagements before, during and after the elections.

 “Our country is at a time where it needs leaders who are committed to uniting Nigerians coupled with leadership responsibility of bringing and ensuring the dividends of democracy to their doorsteps to the people and the country.

 “May I appeal to those who are still bent on disrupting the forthcoming elections to reconsider the action.”  General Abubakar said spokespersons of various political parties were responsible for 44 per cent of violations of the first Peace Accord. 

He said they have not been engaging in issue-based campaigns.

 The former Head of State said: “There was a lack of compliance by the major political parties.

“Forty-four per cent of the violations were carried out by the spokespersons of the political parties, 26 per cent by party members, 19 per cent by the presidential candidates themselves, 11 per cent by hardcore supporters and four per cent by chairmen of the parties.” 

“Additionally, this January alone, a lot of violence has occurred, with at least 15 abductions (including one police officer) and at least, 30 killings (including 11 security personnel) and there were at least six attacks at political campaign rallies.”

 Gen. Abubakar said there must be an end to such acts, including attacks against INEC facilities.

 “I want to encourage political parties to respect that only the INEC has the constitutional authority to announce the results and to ensure that their supporters refrain from disseminating fake news, misinformation, disinformation and avoid statements that will incite violence after the results of the elections have been announced.

 “Similarly, I urge all political parties, presidential candidates, and indeed all Nigerians, to avoid the temptation of the use of polls that are not credible to cause confusion in the polity.”

 Jonathan, whose speech was read by the Convener of the Peace Committee, Bishop Matthew Kukar, recalled the impact of the accord entered into in 2015 by the candidates.

 He said: “Today’s call commits all presidential candidates, chairman and members of the political parties to accepting the outcome of the elections, as long as they are judged to be free, fair and credible.

 “In the build-up to the 2015 general elections, I and my successor, His Excellency, President Buhari, signed a similar accord, committing ourselves to free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.

“We also made it very clear in the second accord that we would abide by the outcome of the votes.

“I believe that was the way to strengthen our democracy, stable, looming violence and bring peace to our dear nation.

  “There is no better time to make this commitment than now, given the considerable levels of tension and apprehension so far experienced in the build-up to these elections.

 “This is the time for the candidates and party leaders to demonstrate goodwill and impress upon their members and followers that the election is not a war.

 “We need peaceful elections to give democracy a boost in the continent, especially in our sub-region, where democratic rule is threatened by a wave of unconstitutional changes of government.

 “I, therefore, call on the presidential candidates, party chairmen and members to please respect the choice of Nigerians and embrace the politics of peace.”

 Commonwealth Secretary-General, Scotland, said that the presidential election was unique because of Nigeria’s status as Africa’s powerhouse.

 She said: “I am asking every person that participates in this election to be brave enough to take it. 

“Those who lead and those who follow because you are Nigeria, a country bursting with energy and daring of a youthful people willing to shape the future.

 “This election is uniquely important because you are Nigeria, the powerhouse of Africa and the world’s rising star, a political economic, intellectual, spiritual, innovation, cultural, and currently, giant and nation enriched by a myriad of differences and strengthened by your shared desire to live dignified lives, a proud nation, which has decided to take the path of peace.

 “All eyes are on you. It is a hopeful gaze, a loving gaze, a confident gaze to power towers dream at the outset of your independence in a land with all our communities living together in peace and unity.”