Buhari calls for peaceful polls but predecessor warns against malpractices

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria February 11, 2016. Photo : REUTERS

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – At the threshold of the presidential polls in Nigerian, out-going president is calling for peaceful conduct while his predecessor warns against vote-rigging.

While signing the peace agreement reached by all political parties for the polls under the aegis of the National Peace Council (NPC), out-going President Muhammadu Buhari urged his counterparts to work towards the conduct of a peaceful election.

“The whole world is watching to see how Nigeria will uphold and strengthen its democracy by the conduct of the 2019 polls” and expressed regrets that the conduct of elections in the past had been consistently marred by violence caused by the behaviour of the most sections of the political class and their supporters.

While signing the peace agreement, he said “Buhari signs for peace. We the candidates pledge to accord the highest tenets of conduct and encourage our teeming supporters to do the same,” he said.

“We cannot hold elections in the country unless there was peace and harmony,” he concluded.

But in a quick reaction seemingly in response to President Buhari’s call for peaceful polls, the country former military leader Gen. Yakubu Gowon warned against electoral malpractices.

He said: “ it was gratifying that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had pledged credible elections in 2019.

“Citizens of our nation cannot ask for less, but we should all be party to the success by ensuring that politicians vying for public offices and their supporters are united in the sincere pursuit of issue-based electioneering.”

He said that regardless of Nigerians’ affiliations, buying of vote would defeat the essence of democracy, while elections rigging would deny the desire and aspiration of Nigerians for good governance.

There were 76 presidential candidates political parties that signed the accord.

Only the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria(ACPN), Oby Ezekwesili, and the PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus were absent at the event.

© Bur-csa – A.H – N.A / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng