Atiku, Ezekwesili Sign Peace Accord
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar yesterday signed the 2019 general elections peace accord. Atiku had been conspicuously absent from Tuesday’s main event, which was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and other candidates.
Paul Ibe, claimed the candidate was not invited, one of the conveners of the accord, Matthew Kukah, insisted an invitation was sent, blaming administrative error at the PDP’s secretariat.
Kukah went on to say other candidates could “still come and append their signatures,” provided they remained committed to the pact. Candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) Obiageli Ezekwesili, also absent on Tuesday, signed the agreement.
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In a brief remark after the event, Atiku declared: “I am a democrat ab initio. I was never converted. I have always been a democrat. I fought the military to return this country to democracy. However, the best way to guarantee peace in any election is to ensure manifest justice to all concerned.
“I am delighted that Mr. President has agreed to sign this peace accord. I will 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 the bill, we will have doubts that this government is truly committed to free, fair and credible elections.”
Also, at a media parley hosted by hospitality firm, H21 Apartments, yesterday, Ezekwesili restated her commitment to boosting the private sector if she is elected president. “Through policy, effective regulation and catalytic public investment in the provision of basic services for people and businesses, we will accelerate and expand the sources of growth in the economy,” she said.
She added: “We will be dedicated to improving the productivity and competitiveness of Nigeria and Nigerians in every sector of economic activity by removing barriers and providing a menu of sound policy measures. This will also include a deliberate move in easing the business environment, not just for major businesses in Nigeria, but for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which are the lifeblood of our economy.”
But a fierce critic of the current administration and former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, maintained that Buhari could not guarantee free and fair polls.
“A man who refused to sign the Amended Electoral Bill four times after it was passed by the National Assembly of 469 Nigerians cannot be said to be interested in any peaceful, free and fair election. Therefore, signing of the peace accord won’t change his desperation to remain in office at all costs,” he wrote on his Twitter handle.