Ahead of the February 25 presidential election, former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged politicians not to seek power at all costs but to eschew hatred and violence and embrace true sportsmanship, during and after the poll.
“To politicians, this is a time to be circumspect in our actions and work towards consolidating our democracy,” the former Nigerian leader said in a statement on Tuesday. “Power is sought and held in trust to be selflessly exercised in the interest of the people and seeking it at all costs negates this ideal and projects politicians in a bad light.
“Let us eschew hatred and violence and display true sportsmanship, during and after the poll.”
The statement signed by the ex-President’s Special Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, Jonathan also counselled youths not to be used as agents of violence and destruction in the February 25 and March 11 polls but to be “key partners in the nation-building”.
Eighteen presidential candidates are jostling for Aso Rock’s top job in Saturday election. Political violence have been recorded at the rallies of some of the leading parties, fueling concerns about the safety of voters in the polls.
Jonathan was Nigeria’s President between May 2010 and May 2015. The then flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), however, lost his reelection to Muhammadu Buhari, the then candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015.
Below is the full text of Jonathan’s statement on the 2023 general elections:
This is a historic week for our country, as citizens of voting age go out to cast their ballots this weekend to elect our next president and federal parliamentarians who will be expected to make laws for the common good of the land. The same exercise will be repeated for governorship and state houses of assembly in two weeks.
It is a time that requires us all to exercise the highest form of patriotism in our nation-building journey and collective quest for peace and progress.
Let us approach this election with devotion, dedication, and selflessness, by ensuring that we don’t jeopardize our country’s peace and unity as we exercise our franchise and pursue our political dreams and aspirations.
In recent times, West Africa and a few other nations in our continent have witnessed a crisis of democracy that has led to unconstitutional change of governments, which has derailed their democratic quest for peace and development.
We must not allow our elections to be a source of violence and anarchy. We must desist from the temptation of yielding to those desirous of making our communities and states, theatres of conflicts for their selfish ends.
Let us realize that the primary purpose of democracy is to uphold the freedom and dignity of citizens and deploy the instruments of governance toward advancing and improving the well-being of our people.
We should strive to consolidate the gains we have recorded in our democracy in the last two decades by ensuring that the elections are peaceful, just, and fair.
I urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, and other critical stakeholders in our democracy to be professional, civil, and non-partisan as they carry out their duties during this election. This way, we can deepen citizens’ faith in our democratic process and minimize the likelihood of electoral violence.
To politicians, this is a time to be circumspect in our actions and work towards consolidating our democracy. Power is sought and held in trust to be selflessly exercised in the interest of the people and seeking it at all costs negates this ideal and projects politicians in a bad light.
Let us eschew hatred and violence and display true sportsmanship, during and after the poll.
To our youth, the future belongs to you; do not allow yourselves to be used as agents of destruction and violence. Nigeria is yours to build. This election provides you with the opportunity to be key partners in the nation-building process by electing leaders of your choice; those you can hold to account, those you trust to defend your future and guarantee unity, peace, and prosperity in our great country.
Finally, to all citizens, this is a moment of truth and courage. Democracy has put our fate in our hands. It has given us power, the power to make the right choices, determine our future, and shape our destiny.
I urge you all to make your respective choices in the best interest of our land. Let us make our choices peacefully and respect the choices and rights of others.
God bless Nigeria.
Special Adviser to H.E. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan