Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
Speaking at the signing of the national peace accord ahead of the February 16 presidential election, the former vice-president called on security agencies not to arrest opposition leaders 24 to 48 hours before the election.
“May I use this opportunity to renew my profound gratitude, firstly to my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and then to General Abdulsalami Abubakar and members of the Peace Committee for their tireless enthusiasm, dedication, and passion towards ensuring the success of this Peace Accord Process,” he said.
“Our gathering here today clearly demonstrates the importance of the upcoming elections as well as how our democracy has matured, not only to our people, but also to the international community whose solidarity, Nigeria’s democracy has benefited from.
“As we prepare to sign off on this Peace Accord, as representatives of our party and people, may I freely quote the words of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which remains a benchmark, for me, taking into account the deep feelings that prevail as February 16th, 2019, approaches: ‘My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian’.”
Atiku called on officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission to remain neutral.
“In this context, I appeal once again to every staff and the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force, to be fair arbiters in the upcoming elections while letting neutrality prevail.
“For emphasis and in the spirit of fair play, I also urge our security agencies, not to embark on indiscriminate arrests of members of the opposition, 24 to 48 hours before elections, as has been the case in previous elections.
“Hopefully, our democracy should emerge stronger from this process with the 2019 elections proving better managed than the 2015 process, which was adjudged free and fair with the then opposition’s victory unobstructed
“Consequently, I also appeal to the President, General Buhari, to use his good office to ensure that every eligible person who casts their vote is confident in the process and in the belief that their vote will count.
“Additionally, every candidate must remember that this election is about the future of Nigeria, therefore, we must abide by the will of the people as freely expressed through elections, under the terms of our constitution.
“Once again, despite concerns expressed by my party leaders concerning likely electoral malpractices and the intimidation of voters and observers, I trust that our election officials and security services will do their duty in accordance with their oath and obligations.
“In conclusion, I appeal once again, to our citizens, to go out and cast their votes for the candidates of their choice, to be peaceful at all times, and confident in our democracy, its institutions and processes.
“So, please go out this Saturday to vote for your future and the future of our great nation. May God bless you and God bless Nigeria”.