The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has blamed a “communication lapse” for its aspirant not being present to sign a deal with other aspirants for peaceful elections.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was a remarkable absentee at Tuesday’s ceremony in Abuja, at which President Muhammadu Buhari and dozens of other candidates swore to ensure non-violence.
Voters would go to the polls to elect a new president and parliament on February 16 2019. Governorship and state assembly elections follow two weeks later.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said their candidate was not at the event “due to (a) communication lapse between the National Peace Committee and our party’s national secretariat”.
The statement further added that both the party and Abubakar were “fully committed to a peaceful electoral process and elections in 2019”.
Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice-President under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007, was known as a “global ambassador of peace”, it added in a statement issued on Tuesday night.#
His spokesperson earlier said the Aspirant was “not invited” to the event, which was organised by the National Peace Committee. Several other candidates were also absent.
But the committee’s chairperson, former military head of state Abdulsalami Abubakar, denied any snub and maintained: “Everybody was invited.”
Safety around polling is a recurrent concern in Nigeria, which has a history of violence stoked by, ethnicity and religion, identity politics.
In 2011, some 1,000 people were killed after clashes between supporters of Buhari after his defeat to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.