Also speaking, Atiku said “every candidate must remember that this election is about the future of Nigeria, therefore, we must abide by the will of the people as freely expressed through elections, under the terms of our constitution.”
Quoting former President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement, “My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian,” Atiku said the statement remains a benchmark for him, taking into account the deep feelings that prevail as the election approaches.
“Hopefully, our democracy should emerge stronger from this process with the 2019 elections proving better managed than the 2015 process, which was adjudged free and fair with the then opposition’s victory unobstructed.
“Consequently, I also appeal to the President, General Buhari, to use his good office to ensure that every eligible person who casts their vote is confident in the process and in the belief that their vote will count.”
He appealed to INEC and the Nigeria Police Force to be fair arbiters in the upcoming elections while letting neutrality prevail.
“Once again, despite concerns expressed by my party leaders concerning likely electoral malpractices and the intimidation of voters and observers, I trust that our election officials and security services will do their duty in accordance with their oath and obligations. In conclusion, I appeal once again, to our citizens, to go out and cast their votes for the candidates of their choice, to be peaceful at all times, and confident in our democracy, its institutions and processes,” he said.
Abdulsalami said “As leaders of political parties with extensive followership, you have the potential to help build peace and keep it, but on the other hand, you also have the potential to create and fuel conflict in the polity. You must not do anything to make a bad situation worse. You must lead by example.”
He added that “First, the election itself will not hold in the absence of a peaceful atmosphere. Second, and equally important, governance after the election would be impossible without a peaceful environment, third the disharmony among political parties hinders all developmental efforts.
“While winning elections may be a matter of competition between political parties, winning the war against development is a matter of cooperation between them. And unless we accept that the electoral competition, no matter how intense, must not be at the expense of cooperation among political parties, we are going nowhere.”
The former head of state defined electoral conflict/violence as “any act of threat that seeks to harm, intimidate, abuse or, otherwise, blackmail any participant through seeking to influence, delay or change, the outcome of that electoral process.”
He urged INEC and the security agencies to abide by their oath of office.
“Today what is coming from our mosques and churches is nothing but unfounded incitement. This must be controlled and curtailed because for us to conduct these elections successfully and in peace, every one of us must be bound by the dictates of truth, decorum and good conduct,” he said.