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#NigeriaDecides2023: Buhari Vows Neutrality

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the candidates contesting in the February 25 and March 11 general elections at all levels to respect the choice of voters and accept the result of the elections as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Daily Trust reports.

He said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the second signing of the National Peace Accord by political parties and presidential candidates of the 2023 general elections, organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC).

The President also urged any aggrieved candidate to resort to the established judicial processes, and that all must have the confidence to trust the nation’s legal systems.

“I implore the candidates contesting in these elections at all levels to respect the choice of voters and accept the result of the elections as announced by INEC, the agency empowered by law to do so.”

“Any aggrieved candidate should resort to the established judicial processes, and we must have the confidence to trust our legal systems. I once again ask the candidates to abide by the spirit and letter of the Accord they have signed unto today,” Buhari said.

The President who commended the NPC, noted that despite having no financial support from the government, the Committee had remained steadfast, working with relevant agencies to provide moral compass and serve as an independent agency for alternative dispute resolution on the electoral process.

He said he was aware of the deep concerns that have been raised about the conduct of the 2023 general elections and the outcomes they may throw up.

He said, “However, since my assumption into office, my government has worked so hard to ensure that we pass on a legacy of free, fair, credible, safe, and peaceful elections.

“We will continue to act with neutrality and allow the rule of law to take precedence over political expediency.

“We have demonstrated that with the off-cycle elections in Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states. We allowed Nigerians to decide who should govern them. We are committed to this legacy till the very last day of my administration.”

President Buhari also assure INEC, security agencies and all relevant institutions saddled with responsibility of conducting the elections of his administration’s continuous support, asking them to be firm and courageous, and to abide by the laws and constitutional provisions in conducting the elections.

He also cautioned that there should be no riots or acts of violence after the announcement of the election results and that all grievances, personal or institutional, should be channeled to the relevant courts.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the NPC and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, said the committee on September 29th 2022, organized the 15th signing of the National Peace Accord committing the candidates to engage in issue-based campaigns.

He said the committee also monitored the compliance of the accord by the politicians, and that it recorded some of the infractions that were a thing of concern.

He lamented that there was lack of compliance by the major political parties.

He said that 44 percent of the violations were carried out by the spokespersons of the political parties; 26 percent by party members; 19 percent by the presidential candidates themselves; 11 percent by hardcore supporters and four percent by chairmen of the parties.

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