The Network for Democracy and Development (NDD) and the Muslim Alliance for Credible Elections (MACE) have urged all the presidential candidates contesting in Saturday’s election, and their supporters, to “show grace throughout the process” of the poll.
In a joint press statement signed by Tajudeen Alabede, the National Coordinator; and Muhammad Jameel Muhammad, the General Secretary, on behalf of NDD and MACE, sent to TOP MEDIA on Friday, the groups asked all actors to “put Nigeria first”.
The statement reads in full: “This year’s elections present a new vista of hope on Nigeria’s journey to greatness. More significantly, the presidential election will mark a change of guard in the leadership of the country as a new President will be inaugurated on May 29, 2023. Many States will equally witness changes in the headship of their governments.
“With the carnival-like campaigns behind us, now is the time for sober reflection and voting. Nigerians must remember that their votes are consequential decisions that would determine the direction of the country in the next four years and beyond. Nigeria deserves leaders who have the capacity to heal our wounds, unite the nation and give us hope of a better future. We, therefore, have a duty to vote and vote wisely.”
Appeal For Unity And Peace
“Nigeria is a fragile yet resilient state. Ranked 16th most fragile nation in the world in the Fragile States Index 2022, Nigeria has suffered from multifarious challenges for far too long. While some foreign interests and their local collaborators continue to predict doom for the country, it is up to us as Nigerians to prove the naysayers wrong.
“Peace is a prerequisite for development. Election is neither a war nor a do-or-die affair. Let’s put the days of violence behind us. Citizens should show their strength through the ballot, not bullets. Nobody should be denied the chance to exercise their civic right. Let’s be united in our resolve to make the elections peaceful and credible. We must emerge at the other side of the elections as a more united people.
“We call on community, religious, political and civic leaders as well as the media to sustain the message of peace in these last days to the elections. We specially appeal to women who, as mothers and wives, possess the rare gift of moderating influence on their families.”
Tough Time Doesn’t Last
“While the current economic situation imposes further hardship on Nigerians, citizens need to remember that elections are more than events. They are part of the process that determines the fate of the nation. To this end, this is not the time for citizens to be broken and downcast.
“All eligible voters – elite and commoners; those in the cities and the countryside – should show courage and resilience to exercise their civic duty by participating in the elections. Voter apathy does no one any good.”
Message To Winners And Losers
“Democracy is a rule of the majority. There cannot be more than one winner in an election. God, the ultimate Decider, is the One who anoints leaders. Both victory and loss are tests from God. Winners must recognize the enormity of the trust that God and the people are placing before them and be magnanimous in victory. Losers, on the other hand, should be humble enough to accept the outcome of the elections in good faith.
“Against this background, we urge all candidates, political parties and their supporters to show grace throughout the process of the elections. We must all put Nigeria first.”
“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his unwavering commitment to electoral integrity in the past eight years. We are encouraged by the efforts of INEC and other relevant agencies to deliver peaceful and credible elections. We appreciate the interventions of the National Peace Committee, religious bodies, traditional rulers and other critical stakeholder groups towards promoting the cause of peace.
“We pray for peaceful, free, fair and credible elections. May the outcome of the elections bode well for Nigeria. God bless Nigeria.”
This news medium reports that eighteen candidates are in the running for Nigeria’s highest office, each confident they can turn the country’s fortunes around if voted into power, but opinion polls suggest three are leading the race for the popular vote.
One of the key contenders is Bola Tinubu, the candidate of President Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Another is the main opposition leader and former vice president Atiku Abubakar, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Nigeria’s presidential elections have typically been two-horse races between the ruling and opposition parties, but this year’s vote has a third strong contender, Peter Obi, who is running under the lesser-known Labour Party.