Elder statesmen, stakeholders urge political leaders to engage followers on peace

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By Emmanuel Oloniruha

Political stakeholders and  under the aegis of National Coalition for Peace and Unity (NACOPU) have urged leaders of political parties and associations in Nigeria to engage their followers on the need to maintain peace in the country.

The Convener/Secretary -General of NACOPU, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, gave the advice at the inauguration of group in Abuja on Tuesday.

Ojougboh,  who was a former member of the House of Representatives, said it was  imperative for leaders to educate the youths and candidates to promote peace before, during and after the elections

The former Executive Director at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) advised candidates seeking various elective offices, especially the presidency to emulate former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Ojougboh, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) recalled that Jonathan conceded defeat and congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari even before the final result of 2015 presidential election was declared.

He said that Nigerian leaders must begin to seek peace before, during and after the general Elections.

“If leaders behave like former President Jonathan behaved, he was looking at the election, result has not even been announced and he threw in the towel. That was exceptional and after that election there was no crisis.

“If he had contested that election result, crisis would have started immediately. His action was exemplary and that is the situation we expect.

“When this election is taking place, leaders must be able to speak with their followers. The youths must be made to understand that what you see on the social media might not be actually what it should be or what will be.

“After the election we must tell leaders and their followers that if you do not have peace, if there is problem or crisis, you will not be able to make a Governor.

“If you are a governor you will not be able to govern. So the need for peace is sine qua non for the existence of the country”, Ojougboh said.

Also speaking, former Governor of Anambra, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, advised Nigerians to mend their differences and come together.

“We are either Igbo, yoruba or Hausa by accident, no choice is mine. It is the same story for us all. Only God decided what we are.

“There is no basis for violence, acrimony. The new Nigeria will accommodate all of us,” he said.

Ezeife also advised Nigerians not to mistake restructuring as resource control, saying restructuring is what Nigeria needed.

“Don’t mistake, restructuring for resource allocation. Some people are saying if there is restructuring, there will be no oil money to be shared.

“Political things have to be done politically, Restructuring is what we need”, he said.

Also in his remarks, former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani commended the establishment of NACOPU, describing its birth as very timely.

“We are going into a pivotal electoral process and the challenge will be much. A group like this should be in the position to speak up and lead with recommendations.

“I know people may dispute the results but there should be people that should advise that we should not allow two, three, five judges to determine who rules us. We should obey the outcome of the ballot box”, he said.

A National Caucus member of the group,  Dr Damaris Osunkwoalsob, also advised Nigerians to seek peace for Nigeria in the forthcoming general elections.

Osunkwo emphasised the role of peace in nation building, saying Nigeria will be great if there is peace.

“There is a saying that blessed are the peacemakers for they say see peace. Let us all strive to make peace,’’ she said.

Another Caucus member of the group, Dr Sam Nkire, urged Nigerians not allowed the current naira shortage in the country, degenerate into crisis.

Nkire urged Nigerians to sheath their swords and not allow politicians to use them to cause crisis.

“This organization is calling on Nigerians not to wallow themselves to be used to cause Nigeria to burn.

“We are not taking about whether the policy is good or bad, but all we are saying is that we need is peace,” he said.(NAN)