Politicians contesting the 2019 general elections have been advised not to take the polls as a do-or-die affair, but rather as a milestone towards consolidating Nigeria’s democracy.
Giving the advice in Lagos, a former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Sinatu Ojikutu, implored President Muhammadu Buhari, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and other contestants to advise their supporters not to engage in any untoward act capable of threatening or jeopardising the nation’s democracy, peace and unity.
“The 2019 general elections should not be seen or be taken as a do-or-die affair,” she declared. “I advise all stakeholders including the leading presidential candidates, President Buhari of APC, Atiku Abubakar of PDP, other contestants, party leaders, security agencies and everybody involved with the conduct of the polls to do what is expected of them with a sense of decorum and patriotism. They should be fair, and firm. Contestants should not resort to violence. They should all remember that we have no other country to call our own than Nigeria.’’
While saying that there is bound to be winners and losers in any election, Ojikutu urged contestants to respect the will of the electorate.
“This election should not be taken as a matter of life and death. There are bound to be winners and losers in any election, therefore, wherever the pendulum swings, contestants, and their parties must respect the will of the people. The election should not lead to war or crisis. Election will come and go, but Nigeria will remain. I want Nigeria to be a centre or destination for tourists and investors. Nigerians must not be turned into refugees as a result of election. I don’t want to become a refugee in another nation. I don’t want to become a Nigerian living in diaspora as a result of election. We should remember that winning and losing an election is not the end of life. Whether you win or lose life should continue.’’
While imploring the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to play the role of a neutral umpire, Ojikutu urged all relevant stakeholders to give necessary support and cooperation to the electoral body.
The former deputy governor also appealed to Nigerians to refrain from making any comments capable of heightening tension or overheating the polity before, during, and after the elections.