The Peoples Democratic Party said it regretted that its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar did not attend the signing of the Peace Accord in Abuja on Tuesday, blaming the incident on ‘communication lapse’.
Other candidates absent at the occasion were Donald Duke of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Kingsley Moghalu of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Oby Ezekwesili of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Omoyele Sowore of Action Alliance, among others.
The PDP Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said Tuesday night that the party will probe the communication gap between it and the National Peace Committee, chaired by General Abdusalami Abubakar, a former Nigerian leader.
President Muhammadu Buhari and 75 other presidential candidates attended the peace meeting at the International Conference Centre in Abuja today. And all signed the Peace Accord, but the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar were conspicuously absent.
OLogbondiyan said despite the absence of both the party and its candidate, it is committed to a peaceful election
“Already, the party @OfficialPDPNig is conducting investigations into the circumstances that could have resulted to this unfortunate communication lapse.
“Nevertheless, it is instructive to state that our Presidential candidate, @Atiku and the party @OfficialPDPNig are fully committed to a peaceful electoral process and elections in 2019.
“Our Presidential candidate @atiku is known worldwide as a global ambassador of peace, who will always support processes that will engender peace in our country and the world over”, Ologbondiyan said.
However, former Head of State and Chairman, National Peace Committee, retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, has said that all political parties and their presidential candidates were invited for the Tuesday signing of peace accord in Abuja.
Abubakar disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja at the Inter National Conference Centre (ICC) , the venue of the signing of the accord.
The committee said invitations were sent to all 73 presidential candidates out of the 91 registered political parties.
Asked if the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar was invited, Abubakar said that Atiku would answer the question by himself.
“But speaking for the National Peace Committee, everybody was invited. What reason do we have not to invite somebody?
“This accord was called for all political parties to sign to be of good behaviour during elections. Either there is a breakdown of communication somewhere I don’t know.’’
Abubakar, however, said that he was not worried that political party or a candidate was not there to sign the accord.
He said that any political parties and their candidates not at the occasion still had opportunity to sign it later.
“What surprises me is that when we had the first meeting with political parties to come out and agree on this agenda, the parties agreed and it was on that day the decision was taken to sign the accord today.’’
The Peace Accord is an undertaking by all the presidential candidates to ensure peaceful and rancour-free campaigns before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
The candidates are also expected to avoid hate speech, fake news or any act capable of causing socio-political unrest in the country.
The event was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as over 68 other presidential candidates.
Other dignitaries at the event included former Head of State, retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who presented a keynote address and Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen.
In his remarks, Karlsen reiterated that the European Union was not in support of any of the presidential candidates in Nigeria’s general elections in 2019.
He, however, stressed the need for all the candidates to abide by the rules and regulations governing the electoral process in the country.
A similar Peace Accord was signed between former President Goodluck Jonathan and the then APC Presidential Candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, prior to the conduct of the 2015 presidential elections.