A former Head of State and chairman of the National Peace Committee, Abdulsalami Abubakar, says the committee invited all political parties to Tuesday's peace accord signing by presidential candidates ahead of the 2019 elections.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, those of AAC, Omoyele Sowore, and Oby Ezekwesili of ACPN had all said they were not invited.
In a short interview with journalists at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, venue of the event, Mr Abubakar insisted that all the candidates were invited. Excerpt:
Q: Atiku said he was not invited; why?
You have seen the number of parties that have been invited. He will answer for himself but speaking for the National Peace Committee, everybody was invited. What reasons do we have not to invite somebody? This accord was for all political parties to sign to be of goodwill and good behaviour during elections. If there is a break down of communications somewhere I don't know.
Q: Will his absence weaken the accord?
How will it? One candidate? I don't think it will weaken the accord.
Q: Are you not worried that Atiku is not here, Ezekwesili, Donald Duke are not here? It appears it is a monopoly of the president in power.
Are you accusing the peace committee of working for the president?
Q: No, we are not accusing you.
So if you are not accusing us, as far as we are concerned, every party was invited and you can see the number of people that came.
Q: Is there still room for those that did not come today to come and sign?
Of course, they are open to come and sign the peace accord. What surprises me is that when we had the conference with the political parties he came out and agreed on this agenda, the parties agreed and it was the recommendation that the peace committee has taken.