• Urges security agencies to maintain neutrality
By Alex Enumah in Abuja
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), has called on all candidates in the forthcoming general elections and their political parties to make peace and unity the hallmark of their campaigns as they seek to win support of the electorate in the elections.
The centre while also urging the contestants to eschew violence and hate speech in their campaigns, appealed to them to engage in issue-based discussions of how they plan to transform the country.
CEPEJ Coordinator, Sheriff Mulade, who made the call, during a Media Parley Friday in Abuja, said Nigeria was strategic to global peace, hence the country could not afford to be in crisis as a result of the upcoming 2019 general elections.
“Peace is vital for national unity and development. If there is no peace in Nigeria, there will be no credible elections,” Mulade said, “All the presidential candidates owe the nation a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the general elections.
While advising that the candidates and their political parties to note that the blood of one Nigerian was worth more than the entire elections, he said politicians should understand that those who toy with human lives would have to answer to God.
Mulade said, “We hereby call on the followers of the candidates of the various political parties to shun bloodshed no matter the situation.
“Nigeria must henceforth learn to cherish and protect peace and avoid the killings that have characterised the nation’s electioneering campaign period.”
The coordinator, while advising the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to ensure that the candidates sign a peace accord before the flag off of campaigns, harped on the need for both the commission and security agencies to maintain neutrality in the elections.
He particularly charged the police not to allow themselves to be used by any party to rig elections or provide protection for thugs and politicians who may plan to scuttle the elections or swing its outcome to their favour.
He assured that the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice will monitor the 2019 electioneering campaign by the various political parties within the framework of justice and peace advocacy. “The Centre will also canvas for peace and remain apolitical in its quest for a violence free and developed nation,” he said.