As the March 28 and April 11, 2015 elections draw closer, more Nigerians have expressed concern over the mounting tension largely traced to divisive utterances and character assassination.
One of the concerned Nigerians who cautioned against this trend this week is Frank M. Owelle, the Group Chairman/CEO of Total Aluminium Systems Limited (manufacturers of Longspan Aluminium Roofing Sheets in Nigeria).
Owelle advised political parties and their members to be more progressive in their utterances and respect the peace pact they entered into at various levels in the interest of Nigeria.
The advice was given in a statement where the international businessman said he was pained at the continued gush of intemperate language by politicians in their quest to win the forth-coming general election, warning that unless politicians retrace their steps, the country risked being plunged into a state of anarchy.
According to Owelle, while Nigerians expected mature politicking in the light of the various peace accords signed at different levels, politicians have continued to heat up the polity with their utterances.
He also expressed the belief that the postponement of the elections has enabled the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address some of the challenges that could have impaired the elections.
Advising parties and politicians, he said: “It has become very necessary for anybody who has the interest of Nigeria at heart to raise the alarm that the way things are going could land the country in trouble if we do not immediately apply caution. I want to appeal to politicians and all the political parties to be more patriotic and progressive in their utterances,” Owelle said.
According to him, “I am of the opinion that every political ambition should be geared towards nation building and service to humanity. It saddens my heart therefore, to see the shenanigans going on, all in the name of trying to grab power.
“I want to challenge the leadership of all the political parties to ensure that their members, no matter how highly placed, do not work at cross purposes with them when it comes to promotion of peace and unity in the country,” he added.
Owelle also condemned the level of violence being recorded so far, saying that killing fellow Nigerians in a bid to win an election does not help the Nigeria project.
He said: “We have heard of burning of party secretariats, burning of campaign buses and materials of some parties, and sporadic shootings at campaign rallies. Some billboards belonging to opponents have also been reportedly destroyed across the country, and the worst of them all was the attack in some places of the President’s campaign convoy. I said the worst because, although Goodluck Jonathan is the candidate of a party, he is the incumbent president and must be accorded all courtesies of that office.
“The brewing violence must be condemned by all well-meaning people of this country. I wholly believe in a statement credited to President Jonathan that his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. This should be the mindset of every politician or political operator in the country. I urge all parties to respect the peace pacts signed at various levels,” he said.
On the postponement of the elections and INEC’s efforts at conducting a credible general election, Owelle said: “My advice is that every citizen of this country should cooperate with Professor Attahiru Jega to ensure that we have a successful election. We must also believe in the ability of the military to make the country conducive, security wise, for the smooth conduct of the general election on March 28 and April 11, 2015. I am convinced that INEC is now more prepared than before to deliver on the critical assignment of giving Nigerians credible elections, notwithstanding the challenges it may be facing. But they need the cooperation of everybody.”
He also said,”2015 general election is very important to every Nigerian. We all know that transiting from one administration to another through a general election is not only tasking but very dicey in terms of material and human resources involved. It is much more cumbersome in a country like ours where every Tom and Harry wants to be in government.”