Presidential Candidates In Nigeria Sign Violence-Free Accord
The presidential candidates of all the political parties in Nigeria have signed an accord to prevent electoral violence before, during and after the February 14 elections.
The signing ceremony took place in Abuja on Wednesday in a sensitisation workshop on non-violence elections.
It had in attendance President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Professor Oluremi Sonaiya of the KOWA Party amongst others.
The accord also stipulates that the institutions engaged in the conduct of the February elections must be seen to be impartial throughout the conduct of the elections.
In his speech at the opening of the workshop, President Jonathan identified what he called 'threats and provocative statements' by the leaders of political parties, as some of the reasons the followers take to violence during and after elections and warned that Nigerians should shun politics of bitterness.
The top contenders in the presidential election had to put-off their presidential campaigns scheduled to hold on Wednesday to sign the accord to abide by the rules and shun violence in all its ramifications.
It was a significant event and an indication that peace must be paramount in the country that witnessed post-election violence in 2011.
A former Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr Kofi Annan, was at the event.
He joined other speakers to remind the presidential candidates of their responsibilities which he said included seeking for solutions to Nigeria's problems and avoiding inflammatory statement.
A former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku and a former United Nations representatives, Ibrahim Gamba also attended the event.
The electoral umpire wondered why elections were prone to violence in Nigeria.
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Atahiru Jega, pledged to conduct the elections on a level playing field for all the parties. He asked the political parties to make an undertaking to also play by the rules.
The presidential candidate of the APC is running for the fourth time. His experience is harrowing as he called on the judiciary, the INEC and political agents to be weary of their conducts.
For the incumbent president and presidential candidate of the PDP, Dr Jonathan, abusive, provocative comments and threats were issues the political leaders should guide against.
He also called on the INEC to be transparent while he questioned the character of some politicians, stressing the need for a review of the winner takes it all syndrome in Nigerian politics.
The signing of the accord was supervised by Mr Emeka Anyaoku, an accord he stressed that all of them must abide by.