The All Progressives Congress on Sunday said a pre-election meeting between the party and the Peoples Democratic Party was necessary to ensure violence-free polls in 2015.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, asked the Federal Government to take all necessary measures to ensure that the elections are free and fair, noting that rigging triggers anger and violence.
‘’Even with the little time left for the elections to hold, we strongly believe that a meeting of the leadership of the two political parties, the APC and the PDP, will send a powerful message to our compatriots and, indeed, the international community and douse the tension that is building up ahead of the election,’’ the APC said.
The party said it had taken practical steps, as far back as May 2014, to work with the PDP to ensure violence-free polls in 2015.
It also assured Nigerians that the party would accept the results of the elections if they are free and fair.
It said, “Following a meeting of the representatives of both parties in Washington, DC, United States, April 7-8 2014, under the auspices of the CSIS Nigeria Election Forum, it was agreed that a joint meeting of both parties be convened to discuss and agree on the crucial issue of a code of conduct for the campaigns and the elections, we wrote a letter to the PDP suggesting a bipartisan meeting to address the issue.
“The PDP agreed to the proposal and suggested that it should be expanded to include the leadership of other political parties in the country. However, problem with logistics meant that the meeting did not hold.
The APC said that it demonstrated, during its recent rancour-free and national convention in Lagos, that elections should be a celebration of democracy, rather than a moment of fear, violence and threat to lives.
It said, “We have heard from Nigerians who are so afraid about possible violence during the forthcoming election that they are even willing to relocate to other countries until after the elections. But, as the biggest opposition party in Nigeria and a major stakeholder in our nation’s democracy, we are assuring, on our part, that there will be no violence.
“Though our party has no history of violence, we have commenced a nationwide effort to sensitise our members and supporters to the need to eschew rancour and embrace non-violent methods, even in the face of the kind of provocations to which we were subjected during the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, when our members were needlessly harassed, arrested and detained by partisan security agencies acting under orders from the FG.
“If the Federal Government allows a level playing field for all contestants, if the security agencies stop acting as the armed wing of the ruling PDP, if the electoral umpire will carry out its duties without fear, favour or bias and if citizens are allowed to exercise their franchise unmolested, the stage will be set for a non-violent, free, fair and credible polls. In other words, the government has a major role to play in making the forthcoming polls peaceful.
“On our part, in addition to other efforts aimed at ensuring a peaceful election, we pledge to accept the result of an election that is not only free, fair, credible and transparent, but one that is also seen to be so. We hope other parties will make a similar pledge.’’
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