Be Prepared To Die For Nigeria, Onaiyekan Urges Aspiring Political Leaders

Ahead of the 2023 general election, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President Archbishop Daniel Okoh and Sokoto Sultan Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III have alerted stakeholders to the dangers of election violence. , including all related forms of fraud. and hate speech.
This call to action was made at the Inclusive Security Dialogue held in Abuja on Monday and facilitated by the Global Peace Foundation (Nigeria) in partnership with ADI International and Vision Africa.
The meeting provided a platform for community leaders representing various dissidents, militias and agitation groups in Nigeria to dispassionate the barriers to peace and security in the country.
In his speech, the president of the CAN, Monsignor Daniel Okoh, warned against electoral violence and said that the consequences are capable of truncating the country’s democratic process.
According to him, while curbing pre- and post-election violence in Nigeria is a Herculean task, well-meaning Nigerians and other development partners who want to steer the country away from orgies of election violence and its attendant consequences should not be discouraged.
He charged security agencies to be vigilant in their responsibilities to enforce the law against the perpetrators of electoral violence, and stressed that the peace agreement signed by the presidential candidates should not be a mere formality.
Archbishop Okoh said: “Although since 2014 some highly influential leaders in Nigeria headed by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar on the platform of the National Peace Committee obtain the commitment of the Presidential Candidates of the Parties encouraging them to sign the Peace Agreement, security agencies must be aware of their responsibilities to enforce the law against perpetrators of electoral violence.
“It is clear that the intention of the National Peace Committee is not only to fulfill all justice. The signing of the Peace Agreement must be diligently followed by law enforcement officers in order to ensure compliance by all parties with serious consequences for non-compliance with the agreement.”
He urged both the state and federal governments to make genuine efforts to create employment opportunities for youth in abundance or provide business training and financing opportunities for their small-scale businesses to prevent them from deploying their youthful energy in the destructive exercise of violence. electoral.
The Christian religious leader described incidents of drug and substance abuse by youth as an enabler of electoral violence.
In addition, he charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be impartial in its conduct before, during and after the elections.
Archbishop Okoh said: “INEC should be seen as providing a level playing field to all candidates and their political parties. Allegations of collusion by election officials with party agents to frustrate voters on Election Day or tamper with election results must not be allowed to surface again in the upcoming election. Sometimes, post-election violence is triggered by alleged injustices and disloyalties demonstrated by electoral management officials.
“The 2023 election holds the key to our progress as a nation or our designation as a failed or failed state.”
The President of the CAN also affirmed that religious leaders must show themselves to be non-partisan and impartial in their public and private statements in order to earn the respect of everyone, especially their followers.
At the same time, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III, urged the country’s religious leaders to use their platforms to discourage participation in electoral violence among youth.
Represented in the dialogue by Uztaz (Dr) Hussaini Zakariyya, the Sultan said: “Religious leaders are the most important and influential bloc in all societies, especially in Nigeria by nature and space, very religious people.
“Every Muslim, every Christian is proud to be what he is and what he believes. And not only that, he is willing to protect life with everything he has and everything he owns.
Therefore, unless and until religious leaders are directly involved in the peacebuilding process to achieve peaceful coexistence for Nigerians, there will be no peace. No one really has the power and influence like religious leaders.”
Earlier, Vision Africa Chairman Bishop Sunday Onuoha asserted that peace and security in Nigeria are more important than the election campaign and warned that the country may be on the brink of historic change if care is not taken.
He said: “If there is no peace, no one will go out to campaign or vote. With the senseless murder rate in the country today, an average Nigerian wonders: Is Nigeria at war with itself? Why can’t people go to the farm anymore without being kidnapped or raped on their own farms, and some even raped in their homes in the presence of family members? The cries of our innocent women have been loud, and if the state cannot protect them, we must see that they defend themselves. Our roads, which were initially death traps, have also become kidnapping zones, and even the nation’s capital seems to be under siege.
“If this isn’t an emergency situation, then what is? The time to act is now,” she added.

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