2023:  Buhari And NPC, Urge Politicians ”To Concentrate On Issues Based Campaigns”

By Lateef Adegbite

 Ahead of the February 25, 2023, Presidential elections in Nigeria, the National Peace Committee, NPC, led by General Abudulsalami Abubakar, rtd, a former Nigeria Head of State, were said to have met with various stakeholders including INEC, officials and Heads of the various security and intelligence agencies to solicit their support to ensure a smooth conduct of the elections.

 The Heads of the various security agencies, particular, the military and the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, may have gladdened the heart of the NPC, officials as they were said to have reassured the Committee of their preparedness’’ to conduct the polls creditably’’.  Gen. Abubakar, the NPC, Chairman, may have given his words ‘’to ensure that all political actors live up to expectations’’.

This is evident going his moves at ensuring  that all the 18, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, registered political parties  Presidential Candidates, who have scaled through the INEC, hurdles to contest the 2023, Presidential elections on February 25, 2023, sign a peace accord   to forestall violence during the elections.

 On Friday, September 30, 2022,  15, out of the 18, Presidential Candidates of the political parties, jostling to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, after the 2023, general elections were said to have appended  their signature to the peace  accord document  in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.  

. Mathew Kukah, a Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and a member of Gen. Abubakar, rtd, led NPC, had confirmed the number but said Abdullahi, Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa state and a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and who incidentally is the APC, National Chairman, had signed the Peace accord document on behalf Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the APC, Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general elections, who wasabsent.

 TAlthough, Kashim Shetima, a former governor of Borno state, and Tinubu, Vice Presidential Candidate was cited at the events center but Senator Adamu, the party National Chairman took the bold initiative to ,sign the peace accord on behalf of Tinubu, fueling speculations making the rounds that APC, has a hidden agenda.

 The APC, Presidential Candidate may not have been the only party Candidate that was absent at the Peace Accord signing ceremony. That much was confirmed by Bishop Kukah who had revealed that three other Political Parties’ Presidential Candidates did not show up as well due to various reasons.

Gen. Abubakar rtd: Chairman , NPC

In signing the peace accord, Gen. Abubakar, rtd,  had appealed  to the 18 political Parties , and their Presidential Candidates to commit ‘’to  issues-based  campaigns  avoid spreading fake news and  misinformation  that are already  creating  toxic  environment and subsequently  threatening the peace of the country and  causing more damage to the system’’

In his nation-wide broadcast on Saturday, October 1, 2022, the Katsina state born Nigerian President, who had said that  the broadcast  would be his last  on an independence  Day as Nigerian President  had reechoed the call of Gen. Abubakar, rtd, the NPC, Chairman  to all those seeking elective offices ‘’to conduct  issues-based  campaigns  devoid of hate speeches as well as  other negative and divisive tendencies.

The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have stressed the importance of signing the peace accord by the various Political parties President Presidential Candidates on Thursday, September 29, 2022, when he disclosed that signing such peace accord with former President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, and other Presidential Candidates in the build up to the 2015 general elections contributed largely to the peaceful outcome of the polls.

The Nigerian President , who was said to have received   members of the NPC,  at the Presidential Villa, at the FCT,  was said to have urged  all the Political Parties Presidential Candidates : Atiku Abubakar,a former Vice President, during Olusegun Obsanjo’s Administration and Presidential Candidate of the main leading opposition PDP, Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and Labour Party, Touch bearer, including the other 16 Presidential Candidates jostling to take over from him  after the 2023, general elections ‘’to abide by the content and spirit of the election’’.  

  He had said that signing  the peace accord  by all the political parties Flag bearers  for the 2023, general elections, was  basically ‘’ aimed  at committing  the parties , aspirants  and their supporters to conduct their Campaigns  in a peaceful  manner, devoid of ethnic , religious and hate speeches that could mar he upcoming elections’’.

The President may have sent a message to those who may want to exploit the loopholes in the 2021, electoral act to rig the election to think of other things to do as they may never succeed. He was said to have made to understand ‘’that ‘’credible, free and fair elections can only be achieved in a peaceful environment’’, noting that the signing of the electoral act 2021, as amended with’’ its landmark provisions underlie his government resolve to guarantee ‘’a transparent and all-inclusive electoral process in the 2023 and future elections in the country’’.

He asserted that the gains of the  2021, electoral act,  have begun to be felt in the conduct  of transparent, credible  and freedom  of choice  with people’s voting votes actually counting, citing  the recent  elections  in the past two years  in the south east state of Anambra and south west states of Ekiti and Osun, including  a few Federal Constituencies.

He has vowed that whatever mistakes that had been identified in the conduct of the Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections, ‘’would be improved upon as the country moves towards the 2023, general elections’’. The Nigerian President had alluded to the fact that ‘’having witnessed  at close quarters the pains, anguish and disappointment  of being  victim  of an unfair  electoral process, the pursuit of  an electoral system  and processes  that would guarantee  election of Leaders by the electorate remains  the guiding  light  to wind down  his administration’’ in the next five months.   

In his nationwide broadcast on October 1, 2022, had said that  no matter what gains the country may have h made  over the last two years  in the signed Electoral Act but ‘’without  good governance  system anchored  on  electing credible  leaders on the basis of  free, fair , credible and transparent  elections,  all the efforts would be in vain’’.    

Notwithstanding, the efforts of members of the NPC, to ensure that the 2023, general elections would be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, Mathew Kukah, Bishop of  the Catholic Diocese, Sokoto,  had said that ‘’Nigerian’s political elites have not shown  any commitment  to the rules of the game’’ as laid down by INEC.

Bishop Kukah: Says Nigeria Political elites Have Not Shown Any Commitment To The Rules Of The Game

Appearing on Channels Television on Friday, September 30, 2022, Bishop Kukah, had called on the aspirants seeking the office of the President of Nigeria and other elective offices ranging from the Senate, House of Representatives, to States to the states Houses of Assembly ‘’to show accountability and display sportsmanship in accepting electoral results instead heading to Court to challenge results announced by the INEC, after the conduct of the elections.

Bishop Kukah, who could not hide his feelings had said that the trouble in the nation’s political scene, has become more pronounced in the recent time because they are ‘’too many who see politics as a transaction’.’ A. He had imagined how a Presidential aspirant could cough out N100 million naira to be able to buy a nomination form to contest one of the Pparties Presidential primary last June.  He may have alluded to the ruling APC.

He had described the huge amount of money that the party Presidential aspirants were asked to pay just like going ‘’ to watch a match or going to the night club ‘’. He had queried that if a party could charge that much fee to buy its Presidential nomination form to contest the primary, what would happen if the person is eventually elected into office after the 2023, general elections.

 He may have instances given instances of what took place in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states, where where  there  were reported cases of ‘’vote buying and so on’’. This may have informed why he had passed a verdict that ‘’the country’s democracy was far below par as compared to what obtains in Kenya,  that had made lots of mistakes in the past  but have had elected more than five Presidents  since December 13, 63 and other African nations’’. He was emphatic that ‘’Nigeria’s democracy does not meet even the local standards’’, stressing that the country is operating in a very consulted matter. 

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