It is in Nigeria’s best interest to hearken to the advice of the international community as this year’s elections fast approach, former Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has stated.
In a statement yesterday, the professor of political science and international diplomacy advised that the apprehensions of the United States, United Kingdom and others should be treated with levity.
The deputy chairman of the 2014 National Conference appealed to political leaders to rein in their supporters and commit themselves to peaceful polls.
While expressing fears towards the upcoming exercise, he charged the actors to put the nation’s unity ahead of their personal interest.
He urged sportsmanship provided the exercise reflects the wishes of the citizens.
The erstwhile member of the Electoral Reform Committee canvassed violent-free elections come this weekend and in other ones billed for this year.
The statement reads in part: “Since I have been monitoring elections in Nigeria, I cannot remember any elections that filled me with so much dread and trepidation as these forthcoming elections. Not even the riotous 1965 federal elections. And we all know what that led to.
“As a scholar in international relations, I cannot but bring to the attention of Nigerians the significance of the latest development in Venezuela where the international community under the United States has accorded recognition to the opposition leader as the alternative president following their reaction to what it perceives as a flawed election. This is promoting regime change by another route. This is the beginning not the end of the Venezuelan nightmare. Nigeria should by all means avoid a repetition of the Venezuelan nightmare.”
It continued: “In case the elections are not free, fair and transparent, the loser should commit himself to using the tribunals and courts for redress, even though the judicial system is imperfect and under stress now.
“We should avoid hate speech not just now but in our political system. Above all, there should be no recourse to violence whatever the provocation.
“As someone who has led electoral observer teams to other countries for over a period of 40 years, I welcome and Nigeria should welcome the presence of the observer teams. They perform a useful role in elections all over the world.”