On Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja made an appeal to all the Presidential candidates contesting in the February 16 election to commit to the ideals of the peace accord for a rancour free contest.
President Buhari made the appeal when he and other Presidential candidates including the former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar signed a second peace pact.
But Atiku Abubakar also told the President to make use of his good office to ensure that every eligible person that cast vote in the forthcoming elections was confident in the process and in the belief that their vote will count.
In his remarks at the signing ceremony, President Buhari said that the most important thing about the exercise was for the candidates to accept the final outcome even as he said that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had already assured that they had done everything possible to ensure free and fair elections.
He said even though there was apprehension in the air regarding the general elections, all contestants must understand that it signified that the country was growing politically.
The President said that the forthcoming election has expectedly generated anxiety, adding that it was a typical of any form of competition and contest, no matter how well prepared all contestants and regulators are.
He said the elections were very special and significant for the growth of the nation’s democracy. According to him, “Another election is upon us and not unexpectedly, there is anxiety in the air.
This is typical of any form of competition and contest, no matter how well prepared all contestants and regulators are. The forthcoming elections are very special and significant for the growth of our Democracy. “First, they come immediately after one of the most peaceful elections in the history of our country.
I am not saying this because I was blessed to emerge as the winner. I am saying there had been a lot of fears and anxieties from within and outside Nigeria about the future of the country. We are hopeful that this is evidence that we are all maturing in our disposition towards electoral outcomes.
We see this as an opportunity to grow our sense of political culture in Nigeria. Govt must uphold human rights during, after elections – Amnesty International “Secondly, we are witnessing an exciting development in the area of the engagement of our Youth and Women in the democratic process.
Hitherto, these groups have often not been in the mainstream of our political competition. It is in appreciation of their contribution that we passed the Not Too Young to Run Bill last year.
“The success of the Act is illustrated by the unprecedented number of young men and women who have stepped forward to participate in this process as Candidates at all levels. Significantly, we have witnessed also the emergence of Women as Candidates across the political space.
Buhari, Atiku meet again to sign Second Peace Accord “Thirdly, these elections are taking place against the backdrop of the emergence of an unprecedented number of Political Parties. As of now, we have 91 Political Parties, out of which over 70 fielded Presidential Candidates.
Although some Candidates have dropped out of the race, there is no doubt in our minds that our country is moving forward and that our democracy is expanding and also deepening. “I call on all Nigerians to contribute to the building of a viable polity by more active participation well beyond the mere casting of votes.
Elections by themselves do not constitute Democracy. It is the spirit of citizenship engagement that utilizes the energy of citizens towards the attainment of good governance.
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