Presidential candidates of seventy two political parties, again signed a PEACE ACCORD, organized by the National Peace Committee, comprising of eminent Nigerians, including its chairman, former Head of State, General Abdusalam Abubakar, and others like Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Archdiocese of Sokoto, as well as The Kukah Centre, two days ago. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the signing of the first one, a few weeks back. That one was fraught with many irregularities, with some of presidential candidates claiming that they weren't invited, or aware of the event, for which another day had to be scheduled to have them sign the accord individually. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton who was supposed to headline this event, turned it down at the last minute, for fear that his visit may be interpreted as taking sides with any of the political contenders, and I very much understand how this can be so. Between the time the first peace accord was signed and now, vitriol has been exchanged from one camp to the other. Prominent of which has been the recent one on national TV by Governor of Kaduna State, and member of the ruling party, Nasir El-Rufai, in which he stated that foreign citizens who intervene in Nigeria's electoral process, will be returned in body bags, and the outlandish war song by another member of the ruling party, Minister of Transport and indeed the Director-General of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari's campaign, Honourable Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi at APC's Presidential Campaign Rally earlier this week. Some have said Amaechi was only reacting to threats by incumbent Governor Nyesom Wike, who even threatened the opposition in his state with a machete sometime back, for which the duel between these two former friends have turned the state into a "Rivers Of Blood", in the past few months. While in many states, electioneering only began in the middle of last year, in Rivers State, it began immediately after the incumbent was sworn in less than four years ago. The story of politically related violence in Nigeria cannot be complete, without mentioning the northern part of it, and now that both frontrunners are northerners, with about the same strengths in terms of war chest, besides the fact that the incumbent has the power of coercion, using the Machinery of State, it can only be imagined what would happen if either of the parties refuse to accept the result of the elections. Which is why I think the core of this Peace Accord should've been that the candidates promise to accept the result, though they'd like to add the caveat that only if the elections were free and fair, which isn't where Nigeria is at the present, though there is the allowance to challenge the result through the judicial system, unfortunately President Buhari's move on that arm of government recently, leaves much to be desired. Hence it is not surprising that even before a single vote has been cast in Kano, political thugs have already tested the waters there earlier this week, with non-indigenes, especially those from the south, leaving in droves (not only from Kano, but most states in the North) for their states of origin, hoping to return after the elections. Since Nigeria's return to civil rule in 1999, every election cycle has witnessed some form of violence with each one surpassing the one before it. This jinx though, as regards violent reactions to the release of the results of a presidential election was broken in the last election cycle, when then incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan not only declared that his political ambition wasn't worth the blood of any Nigerian but lived up to it, by refusing to challenge the result of the 2015 presidential elections. Many have since hailed him for that move, at some point even declaring that he be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, while others claim that there was no big deal in what he'd done. Recent events show that his simple gesture to call his main challenger, to concede and congratulate him, even while the votes were still being collated and counted, gave Nigeria another opportunity to be. The opportunity that the past three and half years have seen thawed to its very limits. No one would've thought that we would see another election season that'll be as tense as 2015s, but here we are in 2019, and pre-election 2015 political tension is looking like child's play. Unfortunately, today's incumbent lacks the kind of credentials his predecessor had in terms of tolerance, hence the heightened nature of this election cycles' tendency for violence, with small pockets already flaring up, even in states once noted for peace at times like this. I had hoped that President Muhammadu Buhari's speech last night, would speak to the unity of and for Nigerians, as they approach the elections on Saturday, but unfortunately he decided that his last speech (the second in a week, after months of denying Nigerians his voice since coming to power in 2015) before voting commences, would be a partisan one, once again urging Nigerians to return him to power, while throwing punches at the opposition. At a bar last night, I heard Nigerians bragging about how there was no way foreign powers will allow Nigeria drift into war because of the consequences, especially to our neighbours in West Africa, but I wondered what exactly it was that they'd do. America's Trump doesn't look like he'd care about stuff like that, Teresa May has enough on her table right now, and Putin's interest couldn't be drawn to bloodshed in some backwater African country that's disappointed the hopes and dreams of the black man over the past decades. Even if they eventually decide to intervene, for a country like Nigeria, the threshold in deaths from the resulting conflict will need to be in millions dead first, before the first U.N. resolution to act will be an agenda before the Security Council, and it is possible that not much will emanate from that, regardless of the fact that Nigeria is a major oil producing country. In the end, it is up to Nigerians to decide not to shed the blood of their fellow citizens, just because their desired candidate did not win the elections. There must be an alternative to violence, even when we are angry about the outcome, because there must be life after elections, and the way things are in Nigeria, these politicians are more likely not to do right by us, than do otherwise. When I came upon a betting company presenting odds for the frontrunners in the Presidential Elections, I was very happy, even though I'm not into gambling. In recent times, it is to betting that many of Nigeria's youth have turned, and even without statistics, I make bold to say that the crime rate in Nigeria could've been worse without the proliferation of betting companies and their teeming population of young Nigerian clients. Therefore if youths who could've taken up arms to war amongst each other following the release of elections result, decide to stake and put their money where their mouths and votes are, by way of betting on the likely outcome of the results, then it is all well and good. That is one alternative. 'kovich AS BUHARI AND ATIKU SIGN ANOTHER PEACE ACCORD

Published by m'khail madukovich