Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, said on Tuesday that he did not receive any invitation to take part at the signing of a peace accord for 2019 presidential candidates.
"I can confirm" that Mr Abubakar "did not receive any formal invitation to the signing of the peace pact," Paul Ibe, a spokesperson for the former vice-president, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
The clarification comes moments after PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Abubakar was absent at the signing of the accord at the International Conference Centre. President Muhammadu Buhari arrived at the event shortly after 3:00 p.m., and he signed the agreement which was brokered by the National Peace Committee, led by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former head of state.
Some presidential candidates were said to be present alongside Mr Buhari, but many others like Kingsley Moghalu and Oby Ezekwesili were absent, PREMIUM TIMES observed.
Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) told PREMIUM TIMES he was not invited, either.
However, Matthew Kukah, a Catholic bishop and one of the the proponents of the accord, told PREMIUM TIMES the committee "absolutely" sent invitation Mr Abubakar, who is the main challenger to Mr Buhari at the general elections coming up in February.
Abdulsalami Abubakar and Mr Kukah led presidential candidates to sign a similar accord in 2015, a measure that was widely deemed crucial to the peaceful outcome of that contentious election.