The United States has advised that there must be a level-playing ground in next year’s poll, after Nigeria’s presidential candidates signed the 2019 Presidential Election Peace Accord.
This was contained in a statement by the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, Public Affairs Section.
The statement reads: “The United States warmly congratulates the presidential candidates and parties who have signed the Peace Accord for the 2019 Presidential elections.
“We also congratulate all those advocates for peace and democracy who have worked together to achieve this important result. Your peace accord is a great step towards the goal shared by all Nigerians of national elections that are free, fair, transparent, credible, and peaceful.
“Achieving your goal is critical to the credibility and effectiveness of the next government, and it is essential to advance Nigeria’s unity, prosperity, justice, and security.”
The US added that it anticipated that all parties and leaders would honour the terms of the new accord just as faithfully as the 2015 pact, as it looks forward to a positive effect on the 2019 election.
“We note that, for elections to be free and fair in 2019, the campaign period already underway must itself go forward on a level playing field and be a fair and transparent process.
“Campaigns enriched by positive ideas and actions will unite Nigerians in a common democratic debate, even as they differ by advocating for competing candidates.
“We urge all Nigerian candidates, party members, civil society groups and citizens to speak out for policies that advance the good of all Nigerians and speak out against violence, misinformation, and hate speech.
“Finally, we reiterate our strong support for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and for all those Nigerian citizens, public servants, and civil society organizations who will together facilitate peaceful, credible, and transparent elections,” the statement added.
President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was the first to sign on Tuesday.
Buhari was followed by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Oby Ezekwesili who signed on Wednesday.