Says he was not formally invited
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, Mr. Atiku Abubakar and the party’s leaders were absent at Tuesday’s signing of Peace Accord among all presidential candidates for the elections.
Apart from Atiku, Donald Duke of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Kingsley Moghalu of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Oby Ezekwesili of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) and Omoyele Sowore of Action Alliance also boycotted the event held at the International Conference Centre (ICC).
The National Peace Committee, which organised the event, had said invitation was sent to all 73 presidential candidates contesting the 2019 elections.
Organised by the National Peace Committee headed by the former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, 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 of the All Progressives Congress, 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.
It would be recalled that a similar Peace Accord was signed between former President Goodluck Jonathan and the then APC presidential pandidate, Muhammadu Buhari, prior to the conduct of the 2015 presidential elections.
Meanwhile, Atiku said he was not “formally invited” to the event.
His spokesman, Mr. Paul Ibe, quoted the PDP flag bearer as saying he was not invited to the programme.
“His Excellency did not get any invitation for the programme. I have spoken with him and I can confirm he wasn’t invited,” Ibe told The Cable.