Former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Amendment Bill into law if he is sincere about having a free, fair and credible 2019 general elections.
Abubakar expressed concern about the forthcoming election adding that the only way to ensure free and fair polls is for government to be fair to all political parties and stakeholders involved.
He spoke on Wednesday in Abuja after signing the Peace Accord by the National Peace Committee, chaired by the former Military Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Atiku promised to play by the rules and remain committed to a free, fair and credible election.
“We are committed to a free, peaceful, fair and credible election and we have always said that and we believe in that. I am a democrat. I was never converted. I fought the military to return this country to a democracy.
“However the best way to guarantee peace in any election or any human interaction is to ensure justice to all.
“I am delighted that President Muhammadu Buhari has agreed to sign this peace accord. But we want to appeal to him to also sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. Mr. President needs to understand that as long as he refuses to sign this bill, we will have doubts that this government is thoroughly committed to free, fair and credible elections.”
The peace accord document read by the Director of Kukah Center, Fr. Atta Barkindo, stipulates that political parties pledge to run issue-based campaigns at national, state and local government levels.
” In this, we pledge to refrain from campaigns that will involve religious incitement, ethnic or tribal profiling, both by ourselves and by all agents acting in their names; party, any public statements, pronouncements, declarations or speeches that have the capacity to incite any form of violence, before, during and after the elections.
It reads in parts:”We, the undersigned Presidential candidates of the under-Iisted politica| parties for the forth-coming elections in February 2019 have attended a one-day Conference in Abuja under the auspices of the National Peace Committee, NPC.
“In the course of the Conference, we listened and discussed extensively on the need to ensure that we politicians create a favourable and conducive environment for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in 2019. Furthermore, we discussed the theme of Trust as a key ingredient in the conduct of our affairs. In the end, we have resolved to adopt the same principles that guided the very successful 2015 Elections and therefore commit ourselves to the following;
“To commit ourselves and political parties to the monitoring of the adherence to this Accord by a National Peace Committee made up of respected statesmen and women, traditional and religious leaders;
“To support all institutions of government including INEC and the security agencies to act and be seen to act with impartiality;
“To forcefully and publicly speak out against provocative utterances and oppose all acts of electoral violence whether perpetuated by our supporters and/or opponents.”
The Chairman of the National Peace Committee, Abdulsalami Abubakar apologised to Nigerians on behalf of the PDP for not being absent at the Tuesday’s signing with President Muhammadu Buhari emphasizing that everyone is committed to a peaceful election in 2019.
The Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus also signed his part of the peace accord document.