“I am pleased that all parties are participating in this responsible initiative, said Kofi Annan. “It will reassure Nigerians and their international partners who are concerned about potential election-related violence and its consequences for the country’s prospects”. He added “What happens in Nigeria affects all of Africa.”
The inter-party workshop was chaired by Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, and attended by the chairmen of the two main parties, and other candidates running in the legislative and gubernatorial elections, as well as the diplomatic community and the media.
The signing of the agreement today in Abuja was the highlight of a mission undertaken by Mr. Annan to support peaceful elections with integrity in Nigeria in 2015.
Mr Annan met the Chairman of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, the African ambassadors, the international community, civil society leaders, business leaders and the media.
His visit began with a civil society conference on elections with integrity chaired by Cardinal John Onaiyekan and organised by a coalition of Nigerian NGOs under the umbrella of the Election Situation Room with the support of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa. At the conference the participants expressed their concerns about the elections: security; delays in registration; and the heated rhetoric that is heightening tensions.
Kofi Annan underlined the role that political actors, civil society, the security services and the general public have to play in ensuring that the elections are non-violent and acceptable to the people of Nigeria. He urged all stakeholders to make these elections about the issues rather than the personalities, or the identities of the candidates.
The Kofi Annan Foundation, which Mr Annan chairs, focuses its work on peace and security, sustainable development, human rights and to the rule of law with the aim of helping to create a fairer, more secure world. As part of this work, the Foundation promotes impartial and transparent electoral processes through its Electoral Integrity Initiative, which Mr Annan also chairs.