Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday urged Nigerian youths to conduct themselves peacefully and eschew violence before, during and after the rescheduled general elections.
Jonathan gave the advice when youth groups in the Niger Delta, led by President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Pereotubo Oweilaemi, paid him a courtesy visit at the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) Office in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
His words: “Without peace there cannot be development in society. If we want to develop Nigeria as leaders and citizens, then we must collectively work hard and make sacrifices that will bring peace to our country.
“But conflicts create a very negative impression in the society and investors are very mindful of the impressions. The most fundamental tool for building a nation’s economy is peace.
He also charged security operatives to demonstrate goodwill towards peaceful elections by desisting from extra-judicial killings.
“Anytime someone dies extra-judicially, it reduces the integrity of the country. So, if our security personnel are interested in peace, especially during the electioneering, then they must do everything to suppress extra-judicial killings; because when one person is killed unlawfully, it affects everyone.”
Speaking, Oweilaemi said the group’s visit was to align themselves with the former President’s philosophy of peace that “nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.”
However, a group of Nigerians, whose membership cuts across the globe, has asked the United Kingdom, the United States of America (U.S.A.) and the European Union (EU) to ensure that the elections are conducted peacefully and creditably.
The Nigerian Think-Tank, known as We The People of Nigeria, led by Dr. Lloyd Ukwu, made the plea after its delegation made presentations to the EU in Brussels, Washington and London.
The presentations dwelled on the need for the international organisations to be fully involved in ensuring that the elections are conducted in a free, fair and credible atmosphere devoid of threats and arm-twisting by any of the contestants.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday Ukwu, who is founder and head of delegation to the countries, said during the visit, the team met, discussed and engaged with the U.S State Department, U.S. Congress and Senate, as well as delivered a letter to the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen, in New York to ensure the success of the Nigerian elections.
Also, the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has said the biggest risk factor for the rescheduled elections would be voter apathy by the electorate.
CHRICED Executive Director, Zikirullahi noted that it has become more imperative for Nigerians to turn out in large numbers for the elections and vote for the right leaders.