By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The major contenders in the 2023 presidential election on Thursday converged in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital where they signed a peace pact following the official commencement of campaigns on Wednesday in line with a timetable released by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) Mr. Bola Tinubu was absent at the signing of peace accord which had in attendance the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, his Labour Party counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi, candidate of New Nigeria People’s Party, Mr. Musa Kwankwaso and others.
Tinubu instead sent his running mate, Kashim Shettima, at the event, which took place at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja, an accord that is customary during major national elections and state governoship elections.
Organised by the National Peace Committee headed by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, the peace pact among other things, draws the attention of the political actors on the need to shun violence while the campaigns last and beyond.
The Chairman of the National Peace Committee, Abdusalami Abubakar appealed to the 18 political parties, their presidential candidates, and spokespersons to commit to issues-based campaigns. Abubakar said fake news and misinformation are already creating a toxic environment that is capable of threatening the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections.
Other members of the committee present at the signing programme include Bishop Hassan Kukah, John Onayeikan, John Momoh, Aliko Dangote, as well as Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, amongst others.
Chairmen of the political parties fielding presidential candidates were also part of the peace accord.