In the leadup to Nigeria’s General Elections which are to take place on Saturday February 25th, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, has urged for peaceful and transparent process at the signing of the National Peace Accord in Abuja.
This is Nigeria’s 7th presidential election since its return to democratic rule in 1999, and with over 93 million registered voters, the country is Africa’s largest democracy. The National Peace Accord, set up by the National Peace Committee (NPC), aims to commit political parties to peaceful, credible, transparent, and inclusive elections, and was signed at a ceremony on Wednesday 22nd February.
Speaking at the Accord, the Secretary-General stated:
“The powerhouse of Africa and the world’s rising star. A political, economic, intellectual, spiritual, innovation, cultural and culinary giant. A nation enriched by your myriad differences and strengthened by your shared desire to live dignified lives. A proud nation which has decided to take the path of peace.”
The Secretary-General also made a heartfelt address to every Nigerian, saying:
“This great nation has given Africa, the Commonwealth, and the world so much. And the hour has come again to show who you are, what you care about, and what you strive for. The eyes of more than 210 million proud and hopeful Nigerians. The eyes of 1.3 billion Africans, and the 2.5 billion people in the Commonwealth. All of their eyes are on you.”
In attendance of the event were the current and former Presidents of Nigeria, representatives from 18 political parties, foreign dignitaries, and other key stakeholders.
This is the second National Peace Accord the Secretary-General has attended in Nigeria as she delivered the keynote address at the 2019 Peace Accord where she highlighted that “Commonwealth values are enshrined in in the Peace Accord” and praised Nigeria’s “steadfast commitment to the promotion of peace.”
During the Secretary-General’s visit, she will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the chair of the NPC General Abdulsalami Abubakar, foreign dignitaries, and HE Thabo Mbeki, the former President of South Africa, who is the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group in Nigeria.
In the Secretary-General’s remarks at the event, the Secretary-General emphasised the Commonwealth Secretariat’s continued commitment to promoting democratic values and practices and supporting Nigeria and other member countries to achieve the goals of the Peace Accord. The Commonwealth Secretariat works with member countries to promote democracy, good governance, peace, and the rule of law.