President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP joined other candidates on Wednesday to sign the second 2019 National Peace Accord in Abuja just in time for the presidential elections which comes up on Saturday, 16th February 2019.
Below are the 6 key quotes from the speeches made by the two men at the ceremony.
1. A hat-tip to Jonathan from Atiku. It is interesting that in 2015, Atiku was in the APC with Buhari, working against the former president Goodluck Jonathan. Today, he and Jonathan are on the same team, and both against Buhari. Atiku referenced one of Jonathan’s most memorable quotes on Wednesday.
“As we prepare to sign off on this Peace Accord, as representatives of our party and people, may I freely quote the words of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which remains a benchmark, for me, taking into account the deep feelings that prevail as February 16th, 2019, approaches. My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian,” he said.
2. Good news – Buhari committed to accepting outcome of the polls. President Buhari has never been one to accept a defeat even when he was in the opposition. He challenged the outcomes of all the elections he lost in court, and most times his supporters took to the streets in violent protests after his losses. Today he said he is ready to accept the outcome on Saturday, whichever way it goes.
“We, the Presidential candidates are here to sign and commit ourselves to do all that is possible to ensure the success of the elections but most importantly to accept the final outcome. I appeal to my fellow contestants to commit to these ideals so as to keep our country and people safe,” he said.
3. We need fair play please! Atiku expressed the fears of the opposition when he said this:
“I appeal once again to every staff and the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force, to be fair arbiters in the upcoming elections while letting neutrality prevail. For emphasis and in the spirit of fair play, I also urge our security agencies, not to embark on indiscriminate arrests of members of the opposition, 24 to 48 hours before elections, as has been the case in previous elections,” he said. “Once again, despite concerns expressed by my party leaders concerning likely electoral malpractices and the intimidation of voters and observers, I trust that our election officials and security services will do their duty in accordance with their oath and obligations.”
4. There will be fair play. As if in response to Atiku’s concerns, the president had this to say:
“The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, our electoral Umpire, has already assured us that they have done everything possible to ensure free and fair elections. It was to ensure this that I made sure that INEC received all the resources they needed to perform their job. Our Security Agencies have been fully briefed and they know that their visible neutrality is key to the conduct, credibility and success of the elections,” Buhari said.
5. Atiku had direct words for the president.
“I also appeal to the President, General Buhari, to use his good office to ensure that every eligible person who casts their vote is confident in the process and in the belief that their vote will count,” he said.
6. The anxiety about the elections is normal, according to President Buhari.
“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,” he said.
7. Over to you Nigerians!
Atiku: “In conclusion, I appeal once again, to our citizens, to go out and cast their votes for the candidates of their choice, to be peaceful at all times, and confident in our democracy, its institutions and processes. So, please go out this Saturday to vote for your future and the future of our great nation.”
Buhari: “Now campaigns are over and our next assignment is for us all, citizens and contestants alike, to go out and exercise our civic duties. I am making a special appeal to our young people: Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence. Please eschew all forms of violence and cooperate with all the relevant agencies during these elections. We will vote according to Parties, but in the end, the only real Party is Nigeria, our country. “