Political parties and their presidential candidates have signed a first peace accord for the 2023 general elections, following the commencement of campaigns ahead of the polls.
The peace deal was sealed with the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, Thursday.
Although candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was conspicuously absent at the event, his running mate, Sen. Kashim Shettima participated in the peace agreement.
Among the presidential candidates who were at the event were Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress.
Speaking variously at the event, President Buhari, Abdusalami Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan, tasked political actors to avoid actions that could threaten the peace of the nation as they head to the field for campaigns ahead of the forthcoming elections.
President Buhari, while speaking through a recorded video, thanked members of the National Peace Committee, led by its Chairman, General Abdulsalami. Abubakar, for their commitment and dedication to supporting peaceful elections in Nigeria and for facilitating peace generally across the country.
“As the President, I have always reiterated my commitment to a peaceful, credible and transparent elections, and what the Peace Committee has been doing over the years, aligns with my belief that Nigeria needs peace in order to achieve credible elections.
On his part, former President Goodluck Jonathan charged the gladiators to exercise restraint.
” I charge the candidates, their promoters and supporters to exercise restraint and seek to run their campaigns based on issues that affect our people. They should, by all means, avoid needless attacks on personalities and use of abusive language for those are the elements that cause chaos and crisis during elections.
He spoke further:” Since I left office in 2015, I have been involved in the process of promoting democracy across Africa. My experience as an election observer, having led observation missions to many countries, is that many African countries are working hard to improve their elections and deepen the roots of democracy in their land.
”Many of us will recall that elections held recently in Kenya, Ghana and The Gambia and I am pleased that peaceful outcomes were recorded in those countries.
” In 2023, I expect our country to raise the bar for credible and transparent elections by ensuring that our electoral processes are peaceful, free and fair.
“I urge our candidates to lead the charge and strive to make our electioneering issue-based, clean and violence-free.”
In a related development, a group of political actors have canvassed for the adoption of the Minimum Offer Bond, MOB, as a convention to bond political candidates to the performance of key campaign pledges based on which they are elected to offices.
The MOB is publicized as a Compact with Nigeria – which defines the milestones and timelines of performance which the candidate proposes to achieve in selected critical areas of national or state transformation.
The MOB aspires to fill the void of a policy basis on which votes are canvassed and entrusted to candidates. It is essentially, the political equivalent of the Advanced Payment (APG) in the business parlance.
Under the MOB convention, the candidate voluntarily offers to resign from office should he or she fail to deliver on the committed targets of development, in both milestones and timelines.
The bond also self-imposes limitless liabilities on the candidate, for any public opprobrium or civil unrest or demonstrations or riots which might occur, should he or she fail or ignore to vacate office in the event of not living up to his or her pledged progress milestones and delivery timelines.
The MOB advocacy group has proposed that a MOB-vanguard-organization, in the form and caliber of the National Peace Committee, be enabled to collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to operational the MOB templates for various political offices.