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Respect voters choice, accept outcome of elections – Buhari to candidates

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has asked all candidates running in the February 25 and March 11 general elections to respect voters’ choices and accept the results as reported by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC).

He made the remarks today in Abuja, during the second signing of the National Peace Agreement by political parties and presidential contenders for the 2023 general elections, which was organized by the National Peace Committee (NPC).

The President also advised any dissatisfied candidate to use the established judicial processes, adding that everyone must have faith in 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, while commending the NPC, stated that despite receiving no financial support from the government, the Committee had remained steadfast, collaborating with relevant agencies to provide moral compass and serve as an independent agency for alternative dispute resolution on the electoral process.

He added that he was aware of the serious concerns expressed concerning the conduct of the 2023 general elections and the possible outcomes.

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 further assured INEC, security agencies, and other relevant institutions tasked with conducting polls of his administration’s unwavering support, urging them to be tough and courageous in conducting the elections while adhering to the laws and constitutional provisions.

He further warned against riots or acts of violence following the publication of election results, adding that all grievances, personal or institutional, should be directed to the appropriate courts.

Earlier, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chairman of the NPC and former Head of State, stated that on September 29th, 2022, the committee will host the 15th signing of the National Peace Accord, urging the candidates to engage in problem free campaigns.

He also stated that the committee observed the politicians’ adherence to the accord and had some concerns.

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

He stated further that 44 percent of the infractions were committed by political party spokespersons, 26 percent by party members, 19 percent by presidential candidates themselves, 11 percent by hardcore supporters, and four percent by party chairmen.

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