One of the Presidential candidates signing the peace accord for the 2023 presidential elections at International Centre, Abuja. Photo: Abdullah Bello/Radio Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged candidates contesting elections at all levels to respect the choice of voters and accept the result of the elections as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The President, who witnessed the signing of the Second Peace Accord for the 2023 presidential elections at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, reminded the political class and their supporters that INEC was the agency empowered by law to announce the results.
”Any aggrieved candidate should resort to 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 today(Wednesday).
”Let me remind all Nigerians not for the first time 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 channeled to the relevant courts,” he said.
The President acknowledged that deep concerns had been raised about the conduct of the 2023 general election and the outcomes they might throw up.
President Buhari assured INEC, security agencies and all relevant institutions saddled with the responsibility of conducting the elections, of his administration’s continuous support.
He asked them to be firm and courageous, abiding by the laws and constitutional provisions in conducting the elections.
President Buhari thanked the Chairman and members of the National Peace Committee, led by retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, for their commitment and sacrifices to support peaceful elections in Nigeria.
The President pledged that Federal Government would give the Peace Committee all the necessary support needed to make their work more impactful and successful.
He called on other agencies and International Development Partners to give them all the support in facilitating peaceful elections in the country.
The Chairman, National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalami Abubakar expressed concern about the lack of compliance by major political parties to the National Peace Accord signed in September 2022.
”44 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 the hardcore supporters and 4 per cent by the Chairmen of the parties,” he said.
He stated that since the start of official campaigning in September last year, there had been 60 attacks recorded on political rallies, resulting in nine fatalities, with the highest numbers in the southwest and southeast and lowest in the northeast and north-central, according to data collated by the National Election Violence Tracker.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu re-assured the nation that the presidential election would hold this Saturday, as the electoral umpire has already commenced the movement of sensitive materials to Local Government Areas nationwide.
Reporting by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade