A civil society group, Centre for Reform and Public Advocacy, has knocked the National Peace Committee, led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, for refusing to issue a formal statement on the outcome of the 2023 general election.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, the centre’s Executive Director, Ifeanyi Okechukwu said that he found the continued silence of the committee disturbing. He said it is “disturbing that despite the avalanche of election petitions and likely far-reaching outcomes that could follow the decisions; the National Peace Committee has been quiet.
“It is our considered view that the National Peace Committee has failed in a very crucial area concerning the elections. The failure to issue a statement on the role of the judiciary and what Nigeria expects from the judiciary is an inglorious statement on the process of election in Nigeria.”
The condemnation is coming four months after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared President Bola Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election. Tinubu had polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his counterpart in Labour Party, Peter Obi, who amassed 6,984,520 votes and 6,101,533 votes, respectively.
Atiku and Obi, however, rejected the results, with each claiming at separate press conferences that the election was fraught with violence and massive rigging. Consequently, both candidates headed for the Presidential Election Petition Committee to seek redress.
But Okechukwu argued it was public knowledge that the Abdulsalami-led National Peace Committee had prior to the 2023 poll engaged all candidates and chairmen of the political parties on the need for a peaceful and credible election. He said that the move subsequently led to the signing of a second national peace accord with a pledge from all presidential candidates to accept the outcome of the elections.
“Regrettably, what is missing is a post-election formal statement of the National Peace Committee on the outcome of the election. In actual fact, only the chairman had made personal statements that were ascribed to the National Peace Committee. The first statement by the chairman was after he voted, and the second statement was after the declaration of the result.
“It is, thus, surprising that there is yet to be any informed formal statement of the group on the election. Expectedly, the 2023 election has not been different. Presently, all major political parties are contesting the outcome of the elections. Without a doubt, the top of the engagements is the Presidential Election Petitions. Next in the echelon are several governorship petitions that are dotted across Nigeria.
“Accordingly, we call on the National Peace Committee to quickly address this gap in its engagements. It must be stressed that every Nigerian is looking up to the judiciary. What it means is that the National Peace Committee must be alert to its responsibilities. In other words, we are calling on the group to effectively focus its bright lights on the Judiciary because its actions or inactions can undermine the atmosphere of peace and stability that has been engendered by political actors keeping to the terms of the peace accord, they signed before the elections,” he said.