The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, explained on Tuesday why he did not attend signing of peace accord among political parties for 2019 presidential candidates, saying he did not receive any invitation to take part in the signing.
“I can confirm” that Abubakar “did not receive any formal invitation to the signing of the peace pact,” Paul Ibe, a spokesperson for the former Vice President, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“His Excellency did not get any invitation for the programme. I have spoken with him and I can confirm he wasn’t invited,” Ibe said.
President Muhammadu Buhari arrived at the event shortly after 3:00 p.m., and he signed the agreement which was brokered by the National Peace Committee, led by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former head of state.
However, Matthew Kukah, a Catholic bishop and one of the the proponents of the accord, said the committee sent invitation to Abubakar, who is the main challenger to Buhari at the general elections coming up in February.
The candidates are expected to avoid hate speech, fake news or any act capable of causing socio-political unrest in the country. 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.
Abdulsalami Abubakar and Kukah led presidential candidates to sign a similar accord in 2015, a measure that was widely deemed crucial to the peaceful outcome of that contentious election.