By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, Dirisu Yakubu & Omezia Ajayi
.Peace accord’ll not stop Buhari’s desperation for 2nd term — Fayose
.APC, BMO ridicule Atiku’s assent to peace pact
ABUJA—Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, counterpart, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, yesterday, signed the peace accord, with both insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent of the accord must be followed up with assent to the Electoral Bill.
In signing the peace accord to uphold decency and focus ahead of and during the election, Atiku said Buhari’s failure to sign the 2018 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill cast doubts on his sincerity towards free and credible elections.
Ezekwesili on her part, accused Buhari of taking contradictory positions on credible elections, affirming that he should not practise political corruption by using his exalted office as president to further his own interest as a candidate.
Buhari was further put on the spot by the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, who charged that Buhari could not be sincere towards free and fair election after rejecting the Electoral Act amendment bill four times.
The Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, however, blasted Atiku for what it described as his belated and hesitant assent to the peace accord, saying his party had in the recent past, set the machinery for violence and discord through their actions.
Atiku and Ezekwesili were absent when Buhari and a number of other presidential candidates signed the peace accord to promote issue-based campaigns and peace during activities surrounding the 2019 election on Tuesday.
The two candidates said they did not receive invitations to the event, a claim that was disputed by the Peace Committee, led by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd).
Speaking a few minutes after signing the agreement, Atiku, flanked by his running mate, Mr. Peter Obi, and the PDP Presidential Campaign Deputy Director-General, Tanimu Turaki, said: “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.”
Ezekwesili faults Buhari’s commitment to peace
ACPN presidential candidate, Ezekwesili, speaking ahead of her signing the peace accord, yesterday, urged President Buhari to sign the amended electoral bill into law to justify his belief in peaceful election.
Speaking on a Ray Power Radio programme, Political Platform, she said: “If the President didn’t sign the amended electoral bill and he went ahead to sign the peace accord, it means he is inconsistent and contradictory.
“It is very clear that the president is running away from the provision of the bill that when it becomes an act, will checkmate any shenanigan, and I have earlier called on the president to do what is right for Nigerians.
“The President cannot practise political corruption by using his exalted office as President to further his own interest as a candidate; they are two different things. He should not hold the country in a state of possible distabilisation by choosing further his own personal interest.”
Peace accord’ll not stop Buhari’s desperation for 2nd term —Fayose
Ex-Governor Fayose in a series of tweets, yesterday, also underlined the attacks on the President, saying his rejection of the Electoral Bill was against the ingredients of the peace pact he signed.
He said: “A man who refused to sign the Amended Electoral Bill four times after it was passed by NASS of 469 Nigerians cannot be said to be interested in any peaceful, free and fair election. Therefore, signing of peace accord won’t change his desperation to remain in office at all cost.
APC ridicules Atiku’s assent to peace pact
Meanwhile, APC in a statement, yesterday, ridiculed Atiku’s assent as an afterthought.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said: “It is obvious that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar tried to avoid signing the national peace accord ahead of the country’s 2019 general elections.
“To all discerning Nigerians, the PDP and Atiku’s dubious claim of a ‘communication lapse’ as reason for their no-show at Tuesday’s formal signing ceremony is hogwash, as the peace committee duly and formally invited the PDP and Atiku like other candidates and political parties contesting the 2019 Elections.”
…Buhari group, too
Reacting in a similar manner, Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, described Atiku’s assent to the election peace pact as an afterthought.
In a statement signed by its chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, BMO noted that Atiku had no intention of signing the peace pact as he and members of his party intended to push out fake news and hate speeches, promote violence and ultimately disrupt the 2019 elections.
“We recall that in September, Atiku had said that if he did not get the Presidential ticket of his party, he would unleash crisis in the party. Before then, his party, PDP, had in July said that it would boycott the 2019 elections and would reject the results of the elections.
‘’This tells us that Atiku and his party already had a mindset of sponsoring chaos during the 2019 elections and were unwilling to have anything to do with peace, let alone signing a Peace Pact.”
Noting that Atiku was forced by international pressure to endorse the peace accord, the group added that Atiku and the PDP’s excuses were flimsy and unbelievable.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has shown leadership by signing the peace pact, despite the absence of Alhaji Abubakar. We observe that this example shown by the President is consistent with his approach in the previous presidential elections that he had participated, especially in 2015, when he also signed a peace accord with former President Goodluck Jonathan.”
“The President has by signing the peace accord, demonstrated that he cherishes peace and that his government is committed to free and credible elections in 2019.”