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2023 Election

2023 Elections: Diplomatic Missions In Nigeria React To Second Signing Of Peace Accord




The Diplomatic Missions in Nigeria have given thumps up to the second signing of the peace accord by the presidential candidates of Saturday’s presidential election.

On Wednesday, February 22, all the major candidates for the presidential election met in Abuja to sign the peace accord less than three days before the election. Recall that they first met in September 2022 to sign the first pact.

The peace accord is to ensure “the conduct of free, fair, credible, transparent and verifiable elections cognisant of the need to maintain a peaceful environment before, during and after the 2023 general elections” and “to place national interest above personal and partisan concerns”.

This practice has been welcomed by the diplomatic missions of the United States, Australia, Japan, Norway, Canada, and the United Kingdom in Nigeria.

The diplomatic missions released a joint statement on Thursday in which they expressed their appreciation for the signing of the agreement and their complete support for any efforts made to ensure that the February 25 and March 11 elections are free and fair.

The statement reads: “We believe it is vital for Nigeria’s stability and democratic consolidation that the process is conducted and concluded safely, fairly, and credibly. We encourage all actors to intervene proactively to calm any tensions and avoid any violence in the periods before, during, and after the elections.

“We call on all officials at federal and local levels in Nigeria to respect the human and democratic rights of its citizens. We strongly condemn any actions that undermine the peaceful and transparent conduct of the electoral process.

“We call on parties to respect electoral laws and institutions and take a firm stand against violence and hate speech by their supporters. We ask the security services in Nigeria to do their utmost to protect that process and prevent and deter attacks against INEC facilities, materials, and personnel.

“We call on all officials, including the law enforcement authorities, to ensure a safe and conducive environment for the exercise of public freedoms – including the freedom of opinion and expression, the freedom of peaceful assembly, and the freedom of association – all of which are essential in democratic societies, in particular in the context of elections. Law enforcement authorities should remain visibly neutral and respond proportionately to any election-related incidents.”

The statement continued: “We further urge all presidential candidates and political parties to live up to their commitments under the second Peace Accord to accept the results of the election as announced by INEC and to pursue any challenge of the results through the appropriate legal channels.

“Finally, we the Diplomatic Missions of the United States, Australia, Japan, Norway, Canada, and the United Kingdom in Nigeria would like to congratulate Nigeria on its 24 years of democratic progress since 1999, during which it has been a symbol to others of the value of exercising democratic rights for the betterment of society. We hope that this year’s elections further build Nigeria’s democratic tradition.”