The second signing of peace accord by the presidential candidates of the key political parties is underway in Abuja, Nigeria’s city capital. Top international and national dignitaries who have gathered to witness the event have passionately appealed to the aspirants and their supporters to commit themselves to peaceful, fair and credible elections.
“Elections will come and go but Nigeria will remain. Treat her tenderly because she deserves your love and devotion,” Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland noted in her opening remarks.
She added that Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and also population, and that whatever happens to her, “matters to all.” She noted that it was important that Nigeria remained an example to not just other countries in the region but her peers globally. In conclusion, she quoted the second stanza of the National Anthem, stressing, “Whatever happens to Nigeria matters to all.”
Dignitaries attending the event include President Buhari, of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former military leader, Abdussalami Abubakar, and former former head of state Yakubu Gowon.
Others include Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ebitu Ukiwe, Chief of General Staff (equivalent to Vice President) under former military president Ibrahim Babangida, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberian President, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, and Jean-Claude Kassi Brou ECOWAS Commission president.
Others include political party presidential candidates, royal fathers, priests, Civil Society Organisations Situation Room, representative of the Kongo Annan Foundation, and party loyalists.
In his remarks, Ibn Chambas, representative of the UN, pleaded that “Those who win or lose should accept the outcomes of the polls.” Chambas said that the world body “stands with the people of Nigeria at this critical moment and always.”
In his comment, Ukiwe noted that “The world await us.”
Clement Nwanwko, the representative of the Situation Room, urged the INEC to guard its independence jealously, while the security agents should ensure the voters are not intimidated
All the dignitaries who have spoken so far at the event emphasised that they “are not here to support any political party of candidate, but to support Nigeria’s democracy.”
This is as they hoped that their kind message would also resonate among all Nigerians. “The world is watching,” they declared.