Peace Accord Signing: Kukah, Abdulsalami Blast Atiku
Say he was invited
Following the signing of the Peace Accord, which event organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC), took place yesterday, the principal organisers, Rev. Matthew Kukah and former head of state and chairman of the Committee, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar have taken turns to lash Atiku Abubakar.
The tongue-lashing followed the statement credited to the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] candidate for the 2019 presidential elections that he was not invited for the event.
Speaking, Rev. Kukah, a member of the Peace Committee said that Atiku Abubakar was invited for the signing of a peace accord.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese said in an interview with Channels Television on Tuesday in Abuja:
“I have here with me a copy of a letter which was sent to all political party chairmen announcing this event.
“This is a letter that was sent which was acknowledged in the office of Prince Uche Secondus, the Chairman of the PDP.”
However, Atiku and the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Oby Ezekwesili, were among prominent candidates absent at the signing ceremony.
Kukah, who was specific about the absence of the PDP candidate, believes there might have been a communication problem and promises that the committee will take steps to address it.
He stated that presidential candidates were free to seek redress while the office of the committee remained open for those absent to append their signatures.
His words: “I think the most important thing is that we will try and do everything possible; these things happen.
“I am happy that it was just a question of an administrative error on the part of their (PDP) secretariat.
“But the office of the peace committee will remain open for anybody else who either due to communication problems, didn’t actually get their letters of invitation,” he added:
Earlier on his part, former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar stated categorically that the committee invited all political parties to the peace accord signing by presidential candidates ahead of the 2019 elections on Tuesday, December 11.
In a short interview with journalists at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, venue of the event, Abubakar insisted that all the candidates were invited.
Specifically reacting to Atiku’s claim, Abubakar said: “You have seen the number of parties that have been invited.
He will answer for himself but speaking for the National Peace Committee, everybody was invited.
“What reasons do we have not to invite somebody?” he asked”
“This accord was for all political parties to sign to be of goodwill and good behaviour during elections. If there is a breakdown of communications somewhere I don’t know.”
Abubakar mentioned that he was surprised by Atiku’s absence.
“What surprises me is that when we had the conference with the political parties he came out and agreed on this agenda, the parties agreed and it was the recommendation that the peace committee has taken,” he said.
He, however, expressed optimism that Atiku’s absence at the event will not weaken the accord.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari and other presidential candidates in the coming elections signed an agreement.
Some of the items on the accord include running an issue-based campaign, refraining from speeches that would incite violence, as well as support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a free and fair process, among other issues.