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NigeriaDecides2023

Otedola, four others join National Peace Committee

Femi Otedola, executive chairman of Geregu Power Plc, and four other eminent personalities have been appointed as members of the National Peace Committee (NPC) ahead of the 2023 elections.

The others are Yahale Ahmed, a former secretary to government of the federation and defence minister; Lt General Martin Agwai, former chief of defence staff; John Momoh, founder of Channels Television, and Idayat Hassan, a director at the Centre for Democracy and Development.

The NPC is a non-governmental initiative conceptualised in 2014 in response to emerging threats occasioned by the 2015 general elections. Since then, the committee has emerged as one of the leading lights and credible organisations in Nigeria’s democratic journey.

It is an initiative made up of eminent elder statesmen who undertake efforts to support free, fair and credible elections as well as intervene in critical issues of national concern through high-level mediated and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

At inception, the NPC had an urgent, broad based mandate to make modest contributions towards a smooth and peaceful conduct of the 2015 elections, devoid of any breakdown of law and order before, during and after the electioneering process. Consequently, its core mandate is: to observe and monitor compliance with Abuja Accord signed by the political parties during elections; to provide advice to the governments, both federal and states and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on resolution of political disputes and conflicts arising from issues of compliance with the Abuja Accord; to make itself available for national mediation and conciliation in the case of post-electoral disputes or crises; to ensure peaceful outcome of general elections that is acceptable to a generality of Nigerians and the international community.

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The core values of the NPC include neutrality, integrity, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness through: fairness, confidentiality, meritocracy, justice and patriotism.

Some previous members of the committee included retired General Abdulsalam Abubakar; Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah; Okoh Ebitu Ukiwe; Priscilla Kuye, Sultan of Sokoto, HRH Sa’ad Abubakar, Aliko Dangote, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Brown Ade, Sam Amuka; INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu; Ibrahim Gambari and John Cardinal Onaiyekan.

Yakubu, INEC boss, recently called on the NPC, to engage actors in the political space early enough, in order to minimise incidences of electoral violence in the 2023 general election.

He had appreciated the contribution of the committee to peaceful elections through the Peace Accord initiative introduced in 2015, saying: “Nations are lucky when they have moral voices, that their authority does not draw from statutory provisions, it exists purely from moral persuasion, and people listen.

“That is why I think it is a big plus for us as a nation to have a national peace committee and the calibre of people involved in the National Peace Committee.”

Appealing to the Abdulsalam Abubakar-led committee for its intervention with regards to electoral violence, Yakubu had also said, “One of the things that the National Peace Committee can help us do in terms of mitigating security challenges is early engagement with some of the actors.

“Not just signing the peace accord on the eve of elections, but imagine that some of those who perpetrate violence on election day are not necessarily candidates in the election, but are people engaged by beneficiaries of the election. So, if we can engage with the actors early enough, I hope that we will be able to turn a new leaf in that respect.”

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