President Muhammadu Buhari, has urged political actors in the 2023 poll to place Nigeria first above regional or sectional interests, ahead of the 2023 general election.
Mr Buhari made the call in a goodwill message at the signing of the National Peace Accord by presidential candidates of political parties for the 2023 general election in Abuja on Thursday.
He urged the media to shun fake news and show commitment to issue-based campaigns to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
“The 2023 general election is more than an election, it is an opportunity to serve Nigeria, to defend Nigeria and to uphold her unity and progress.
“Therefore, I call on all Nigerians, political parties, politicians, security agencies, the election management body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and all stakeholders to ensure that Nigeria is placed first above regional and sectional claims.
“I call on the contestants, especially their publicity agents and media advisers to shun personal attacks, avoid insults and incitement, reject the spread of fake news, and commit to issue-based campaigns and political rallies,’’ Mr Buhari said.
He said that as the president, he has always reiterated his commitment to a peaceful, credible and transparent election.
Mr Buhari commended the National Peace Committee (NPC) led by retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, for its commitment to supporting peaceful elections in Nigeria.
He said what the committee has been doing over the years, aligned with his belief that Nigeria needed peace to achieve credible elections.
“However, the rise of fake news and misinformation continues to pose a significant threat to the pattern of democracy in Nigeria.
“It has shifted focus away from issue-based campaigns to amplifying the potential for personal attacks, insults, and incitement. It has also significantly diminished civility and decency in public discourse and debate.
“The initiatives are undertaken by the National Peace Committee to commit all political actors to an issue-based campaign devoid of incitement, personal insults and attacks is a welcome development,” he said.
Mr Buhari said that everything must be done to support the NPC in its efforts to ensure peace in elections in Nigeria.