second signing of the peace accord by political actors ahead of the general elections has suffered setback as former United States President Bill Clinton who was expected to deliver keynote address at the Wednesday event says he would be absent.
Ex-President Bill Clinton and Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland are to witness the signing of the peace accord ahead of Saturday’s presidential election on Wednesday, reports say.
Earlier, politicians seeking public office in Nigeria’s forthcoming election had an initial signing of the national peace accord midwifed by the Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee (NPC) on December 11.
The accord was designed to ensure peaceful campaigns and political rallies while the second signing is coming at the instance of the Chairman.
However, in a statement by Fr. Atta Barkindo, Head Secretariat, National Peace Committee, the eminent personalities will deliver good will messages at the occasion.
The NPC said: “The National Peace Committee, mindful of the importance of peaceful elections and non-violent transfer of power has engaged various stakeholders in preparation for the 2019 general elections.
“To this end, it is pleased to announce that it has invited Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America and Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, to visit Nigeria from 12 to 13 February 2019 ahead of the Nigerian presidential elections.
“Both President Clinton and Baroness Scotland will deliver goodwill messages at the signing ceremony of the ‘National Peace Accord’, which will hold at Abuja International Conference Centre on February 13. President Clinton would also hold meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice-President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar.
“As we move into Nigeria’s national elections, the threat of unrest has to be taken seriously. Both guests of honour enjoy enormous respect in Nigeria and beyond and we look forward to his counsel and advice to help Nigeria navigate through what will hopefully be a peaceful and fair electoral cycle.”
But a statement issuer by Clinton’s spokesman Angel Ureña noted that the former President’s visit might be politicised in a way that is not in line with the goals of the committee.
According to the statement, “President Clinton appreciates General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the Nigerian National Peace Committee’s invitation to travel to Nigeria.
“He is incredibly supportive and respectful of the committee’s efforts, of the election process, and of the work being done to try to ensure a peaceful, free, fair, and transparent outcome.
“This is a crucial time in Nigeria, and President Clinton is hopeful that the election’s outcome reflects the will of the Nigerian people.
“Over the course of the last several days, and after various conversations with the different stakeholders, it’s become apparent that President Clinton’s visit to Nigeria has the potential to be politicized in a way that is not in line with the goals of the committee. Therefore, he will not be traveling to Abuja.
“He looks forward to talking to both candidates and General Abubarkar this week.“