The Peace Accord signed by presidential candidates for next week’s presidential election to ensure violence-free polls has come under threat, as the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday threatened to pull out of the Accord.
The main opposition party accused the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency of violating the tenets of the Accord.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan listed three grounds on which the party would pull out of the exercise.
These, he said, include the murder threats of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, to foreign election observers who interfere in the forthcoming elections; plans by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, to deploy Kayode Egbetokun, former Chief Security Officer to Bola Tinubu as Commissioner of Police in Kwara State as well as alleged shut down of all the stadia in Kano State by the state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, to frustrate PDP Presidential campaign rallies in the state.
The Peace Accord was signed by the presidential candidates in December 2018 in Abuja.
Featuring on Tuesday Live – a live television programme on the Nigerian Tuesday Authority (NTA), el-Rufai had launched attacks against the opposition and the international community.
“Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that would come and intervene, they would go back in body bags,” the APC governor had said in a video that had already gone viral on the Internet.
But speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ologbondiyan called on the international community to ‘immediately impose a travel ban on el-Rufai for this inciting comment against peaceful elections in our country’.
Describing the remarks as inflammatory, the PDP Spokesperson also charged the Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee to immediately summon the governor.
He said the comments and actions of APC leaders and the Presidency are directly inimical to a peaceful, free and fair election.
His words: “Nigerians are still in a shock over comments by the Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who declared on a national television that members of the global democratic institutions that are working for a peaceful election in Nigeria will return to their countries in body bags. What a threat?
“Also of particular note is the plot to redeploy, a former Chief Security Officer to APC leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, CP Kayode Egbetokun, as Kwara state Commissioner of Police, where he has been handed the instruction to incite the people, cause pandemonium and pave the way for outright rigging in favour of President Buhari and all other candidates on the platform of APC.
“This is in line with plans by the Buhari Presidency and the APC to effect a mass deployment of top security officers, particularly the police, to intimidate, harass and manhandle Nigerians that will not support the self-succession bid of President Muhammadu Buhari as well as aiding APC thugs to snatch ballot boxes and orchestrate violence in the elections.
“Nigerians are aware of how CP Kayode Egbetokun was posted to Lagos state by the disgraced former Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, to serve the same partisan interest and how that posting was stopped by the new IGP Adamu Mohammed. Now, he is being redeployed to Kwara state for the same ignoble plot.
“It is necessary to state that the PDP is a party of peace and we are committed to the peace accord. However, the deployment of the Kayode Egbetokun as Kwara CP directly negates the principle of the Peace Accord and can only hurt the fragile peace that currently exists in Kwara state.
“We wish to remind the acting Inspector General, Adamu Mohammed that his acceptability among Nigerians across party line was based on the pedigree, which was presented to Nigerians before his appointment.
“These pedigree and exposure place on his shoulders, the responsibility to be just, firm, equitable and professional in the discharge of his duties. We therefore urge him not to allow his reputation to be mired in controversial political activities.
“Very importantly, the PDP calls on the National Peace Committee to note the infractions by the APC and its leaders to the peace accord, including the provocative shut down of all the stadia in Kano state by the state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, in order to frustrate the PDP Presidential campaign rallies in the state.
“The PDP hold that any situation that seeks to allow the APC to abuse the tenets of the accord will definitely force our party to review our signatory to the peace process. In that regard, we might have no option left than to allow our members to defend their votes with whatever that is available to them.
“This country belongs to all of us and no individual or group, no matter how highly placed, can subjugate other citizens or seek to appropriate any sort of absolutism to themselves”.
He also revealed that the party has alerted the Peace Committee on the matter.
BusinesDay reports that some of the items on the peace accord – signed by President Muhammadu Buhari of APC, Atiku Abubakar of PDP among others – include running an issue-based campaign, and refraining from speeches that would incite violence.
The accord also entails the candidates to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a free and fair process, among other issues.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja