By CECILIA OLOGUNAGBA
NEW YORK- UN has expressed willingness to continue to support all Nigeria’s political parties to respect their commitments under their peace accord.
All 18 registered political parties in Nigeria signed a peace pact on the 2023 general elections on Wednesday, coordinated by the National Peace Committee (NPC).
The peace pact entails that all political parties accept the outcome of the elections or to seek legitimate means of redress in the event of divergent positions.
UN Spokesperson, Stephanie Dujarric, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that the global body, which witnessed the signing of the accord, would continue to support that it is respected.
Dujarric said that through the political engagements of UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), the partnership with the NPC – the main convener of the peace accord signing events – was reinforced ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“A senior official from the UNOWAS is in direct contact with the Chair of the NPC and stands ready to leverage good offices to support quiet diplomacy efforts to urge key actors to respect their commitments under the accords.
“As mentioned above, we have supporting high-level fora in a number of states aimed at promoting peaceful conduct and outcome of the elections,’’ he said.
According to him, UNOWAS and the Office of the Resident Coordinator Office have also engaged with the main candidates, opposition leadership and institutions.
The spokesperson said UN had engaged relevant stakeholders to help create a conducive environment for the holding of the elections.
He said UN had supported the organisation of high-level stakeholder fora in five States (Kano, Kaduna, Cross River, Enugu and Oyo) aimed at promoting peaceful conduct and outcome of the elections.
“We trust that all authorities in Nigeria will do their utmost to ensure peaceful election,’’ Dujarric said.
He told NAN that UN did not provide electoral observers outside of very specific mandated circumstances but however, commended Nigeria for inviting other regional bodies to observe the elections.
“We very much welcome the decision by the electoral authorities in Nigeria to invite electoral observers from a number of regional organisations, including ECOWAS, the African Union and the European Union.
“In addition, the United Nations system has continued to provide electoral assistance to national electoral authorities and support to a non-governmental network of organisations focusing on capacity building, promoting transparency and the inclusion of youth and women.
“Included in this support to the Independent Electoral Commission, has been technical support mainly through United National Development Programme (UNDP), to improve the process and use of technology in preparing for and managing the election.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (UNOWAS), Ms Giovanie Biha, who witnessed the event, commended the signing of the Second National Peace Accord for peaceful elections in Nigeria.
Under the Peace Accord, the 18 presidential candidates and the Chairmen of their respective parties renewed their commitment to peaceful, transparent, and credible elections.
Biha appealed to all candidates and their supporters to respect the terms of the Peace Accord with due respect for the rule of law.
She further reiterates the importance of peaceful elections to Nigeria, the region and the continent while highlighting the centrality of peaceful elections to peace, stability, and development of Nigeria.
The official reaffirmed the UN support to the people of Nigeria and hoped that the elections of Saturday would further deepen democratic consolidation in Nigeria and the region. (NAN)