A former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, and the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, have asked Nigerians to be decorous and peaceful during Saturday’s governorship and Houses of Assembly elections.
The three leaders spoke on Thursday in Awka, the Anambra State capital, during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the National Peace Committee, entitled, “High-Level Dialogue on Peaceful Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Elections.”
The joint address of Abdulsalami and Kukah was read by the Deputy Director, Administration of The Kukah Centre, Mr Duke Anoemuah, while the Obi of Onitsha was represented on the occasion by High Chief Okey Ononye.
They asked politicians, monarchs, security agencies, civil society organisations, the media, and government to be committed to the peaceful conduct of the elections.
The address read in part, “We are here in Anambra State to extend to you, the good people of the state, an appeal made by the NPC for a peaceful conduct of election into the state House of Assembly scheduled for Saturday, 9 March, 2019.
“Our distinguished candidates contesting elections into the state House of Assembly are urged to eschew violence and hate speech and strive to adhere to the peace accord which leaders of the various political parties willingly assented to in Abuja in December 2018 and February 2019, before the presidential and National Assembly elections.
“This dialogue forum is one in a series of interventions at the state level, jointly organised by the NPC and supported by the Department for International Development.”
The statement added, “The goal of this forum is to sensitise and mobilise stakeholders towards peaceful elections.
“It is expected to build initiatives and take measures to strengthen mutual confidence among stakeholders and political actors and to encourage peaceful resolution of any election-related disputes with utmost regard to the rule of law and due process.
“The chairman (Abdulsalami) also asked me to convey his appreciation to the leadership of all political parties in Anambra State, especially candidates contesting the legislative positions who have so far demonstrated their commitment to peaceful elections in the state.”
The leaders reminded contestants in the poll to educate their followers/supporters to conduct themselves peacefully during the exercise, stressing that it was only in a peaceful environment that elections could hold.