Ekiti Election: Choose Peace Over Violence, NPC Tells Residents

General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former Head of State, is the Chairman of the National Peace Council.
A file photo of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Council.

 

The National Peace Committee (NPC) has appealed to the residents of Ekiti to choose peace over violence in the coming governorship election in the state.

Chairman of the committee and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, made the appeal in a statement barely a week to the Election Day.

He urged the people to come out without fear, but with hope to exercise their franchise and vote to deepen the democratic process in the state.

General Abdulsalami also advised the youths not to make themselves pawns in the hands of the political class but should be aware that the security, stability, and future of Nigeria remain their common patrimony.

He urged everyone taking part in the election to follow due process, conduct themselves with civility and patriotism, and ensure they do not take the laws into their hands no matter the grievances they may hold against individuals and other stakeholders in the poll.

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The NPC chairman reminded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, and others that Nigerians and the world were monitoring them as they expect a level-playing field for all parties.

According to him, the conduct and peaceful outcome of the Ekiti State off-cycle election will put to test all the claims of reforms and strategic policy implementations of the last four years.

General Abdulsalami also believes the governorship election will offer an opportunity to assess how the 2023 elections will span out.

He disclosed that the various political parties and stakeholders in the election would sign a peace accord on Wednesday in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

Read the full statement below:

With the Ekiti State off-cycle governorship elections scheduled for June 18, 2022, the good people of Ekiti are once again called upon to step out without fear, but with hope to exercise their franchise and vote to deepen the democratic process in Ekiti.

With general elections months away, and despite the spike in violence across the country, the Ekiti State governorship elections offer a glimmer of hope and a window of opportunity to assess how the 2023 elections will span out. Consequently, the National Peace Committee (NPC) would like to make the following observations:

1: The commitment of the people of Ekiti to democratic ideals and the tenacity of ordinary Nigerians in support of our democracy and its processes, must be applauded in all its ramifications. In the run-up to the Ekiti governorship elections, the people of Ekiti are the ones mobilised to attend the rallies, and on election day, they will most certainly abandon their means of livelihood, line up for hours at polling units, often under harsh weather conditions, with no absolute guarantee for the safety of their lives.

Yet, they will patiently wait and vote with hope that things will be better and that their living conditions will at least improve. They carry the hope of generations yet unborn. This set of voters, not just in Ekiti but across the country, are the real custodians of democracy. Their willingness to step out and vote despite the disappointments that seem to accompany previous elections indicates that democracy in all its limitations has been accepted as the best form of government for Nigeria.

2: We are aware that the 2023 election may not be the best – as can be attested to by the monetisation of the process, the acrimonious conduct of the recent party primaries, and the elevation of the ‘delegate position’ over and above the welfare of ordinary Nigerians. We urge all the people taking part in the Ekiti state governorship to follow due process, and conduct themselves with civility and patriotism.

They should not take the laws into their hands – no matter the grievances they may hold against individuals, against the state, or against electoral bodies or security agencies. The NPC also wishes to announce that a peace accord will be signed by the various political parties and stakeholders on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Amazing Grace Events Hall, Ikokun, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

3: In particular, we call on our youths not to make themselves pawns in the political chessboard of the political class. The youths must realise that the security, stability, and future of Nigeria remain their common patrimony. They must make themselves available to become ambassadors of peace, retain hope in Nigeria and support the democratic process in Ekiti state, and Nigeria in general.

4: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, and the political candidates in the Ekiti State governorship elections should know that the eyes of Nigerians, and indeed the world, are on them. The conduct and peaceful outcome of the Ekiti State off-cycle elections will put to test all the claims of reforms and strategic policy implementations of the last four years. We expect that a level playing field should be provided for all contestants – irrespective of the party under which they are contesting.

We call on INEC and the security agencies not only to be non-partisan in the discharge of their duties but also to be seen to be so. We equally call on INEC to ensure inclusivity, facilitating an electoral exercise where people do not in any way experience disenfranchisement as a result of their gender, religious or ethnic affiliations, and/or disability. We also urge the contestants to approach the elections in a true spirit of sportsmanship.

5: We urge the media, including social media, to be alert to their responsibilities and eschew reportages that will further inflame passions (including forwarding sensational write-ups, fake news, and ‘alternative facts’). In the final analysis, if Ekiti state is up in flames, we will all feel the heat – just like we will all partake in its peaceful dividends if we resolve to first and foremost vote for peace irrespective of our different political inclinations.

Consequently, we urge all stakeholders to eschew violent rhetoric and actions before, during, and after the election so that Ekiti State will emerge from the electoral process much stronger, living up to its name as the “Land of Honour and Integrity”.

General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, GCFR,

Chairman, NPC

Buhari Congratulates Former Head Of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar At 80

File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday congratulated General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, on his 80th birthday.

The President joins family members, friends, and associates of the former Head of State in celebrating the milestone, taking into full cognisance the historic roles he has played in the unity and peace of Nigeria, and in laying the building blocks of democracy.

The President noted the meritorious service of the former Chief of Defence Staff, sacrificing for the country and the African continent by participating in peace missions and negotiating for the upholding of democracy across the continent.

Buhari extolled the humility and humanity of the Army General, who chose the noble path by ensuring transition to democratic government in 1999 and midwifed a peaceful handover process in 2015.

On his 80th birthday, the President believes the nation owes Gen. Abubakar a debt of gratitude for always putting the interest of the country and its citizens first, and working for the greater good of Nigeria and a better Africa.

President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will continually bless the former Head of State with good health, strength, and wisdom.

‘Our Security Forces Are Overstretched,’ Abdulsalami Seeks Joint Support Against Insecurity

 

Former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, has called for the support of Nigerians in tackling insurgency and other forms of insecurity, saying the nation’s security forces are overstretched.

He made the call on Wednesday in Niger State during the 38th Founders Day and 30th convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology Minna.

“We are facing a very hard time security-wise, where the war front is everywhere and this is a war without any morality. The old and the young are slaughtered without cause,” Abdulsalami said.

“Indeed, our security forces are overstretched. So it is left to all of us to join hands in making sure that we provide information where possible so that these insurgents could be chased out of our country.”

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Besides security, the former ruler also spoke about the 2023 general elections, suing for peace.

He stated that as the campaigns are about to commence across the country, politicians should conduct themselves in an orderly manner.

Former Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar speaks during the convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology Minna, Niger State on February 2, 2022.

 

“Avoid making our children, grandchildren as vanguards. Avoid abusing them and making them do what we know is wrong.

“For the youths, please avoid being used to be fronts of disharmony and violence in the country,” he said.

While thanking the university community for the honour bestowed on him, Abubakar also commended the state governor, Abubakar Bello for the support of his administration to the institution.

Nigerians will go to the poll in 2023 to elect a set of leaders at various levels that will govern them for the next four years.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019, would have completed his constitutional two-term limit by May next year.

Buhari, Jonathan Celebrate Abdulsalami At 79

A combination of file photos of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, President Muhammadu Buhari, and Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan have congratulated former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, on his 79th birthday.

In a statement on Sunday by his media aide, Garba Shehu, President Buhari joined family members and friends to celebrate with the leader.

He stated that his legacy of setting the country on the path of democracy and good governance, as well as his passionate pursuit of peace, has continued to yield results.

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The President congratulated General Abubakar for another age and appreciated his patriotism and visionary leadership style of always advocating unity, projecting maturity and wisdom on national discourse, and providing a rallying point for the future of the country.

He noted the goodwill that the former Head of State has attracted to the country, particularly sacrificing his time and resources to reach out to individuals and institutions on the need to work for the growth of Nigeria.

President Buhari prayed that God would increase his wisdom, strength, and give him long life to keep serving the country.

Former President Jonathan, in a goodwill message to General Abubakar, commended him for his efforts and contributions to the peace and unity of the country, as well as his role in promoting democracy and passion for service.

“I am pleased to join your family and friends to celebrate with you on the occasion of your 79th birthday,” he said, adding that the former Head of State “contributed to the peace and unity of Nigeria and many other African nations including Liberia, Niger, Chad, and Sudan.”

“Your role in promoting democracy is underscored by your relentless passion for service and sacrifice.

“Nigerians will continue to honour you for the role you played in our nation’s transition from military to civilian administration, which has flourished for over two decades and produced notable leaders,” the former President said.

About Six Million Illicit Weapons Circulating In Nigeria – Abdulsalami

 

Former Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, Abdulsalami Abubakar on Wednesday said there are an estimated six million illicit weapons circulating in Nigeria.

He spoke during a meeting of the NPC with the Nigerian Guild of Editors.

The meeting was focused on proferring solutions to insecurity in Nigeria.

According to Abdulsalami, the proliferation of illicit arms has contributed greatly to the current insecurity climate in the country.

READ ALSO: National Peace Committee To Meet With Traditional Rulers, Others

“The proliferation of calibre of weapons not only in our sub-region, but in general, and in Nigeria in particular, is worrying,” he said.

“It is estimated that over six million of such weapons are in circulation in our country. This certainly aggravated the insecurity and led to over 80,000 deaths and also we have close to three million internally displaced persons.”

A former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alamin Daggash said security officials must be better trained to combat crime across the federation.

“In those days, we used to train for something like 18 months to two years,” he said. “Today, some of these young people are trained for only six months. And I think that is inadequate.”

Billionaire industrialist and a member of the NPC, Aliko Dangote suggested more funding for security operatives.

“There is no way for us to continue with this sort of thing while we are underfunding the police, the military,” he said. “We are also asking them to go and recruit, so when they recruit, where are they going to find the money to pay?”

The NPC is a nonprofit founded in 2014 as a response to “emerging threats occasioned by the 2015 general elections,” according to a page on its website.

Its members include the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, among other eminent Nigerians.

 

Insecurity: National Peace Committee To Meet With Traditional Rulers, Others

General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former Head of State, is the Chairman of the National Peace Council.
General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former Head of State, is the Chairman of the National Peace Committee.

 

The National Peace Committee will on April 7 meet with stakeholders in the Nigerian project, including traditional rulers, nonprofits, and civil society organisations.

The meeting is a “first step” towards finding a solution to the current state of insecurity across the country, Chairman of the NPC, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, said in a letter of invitation extended to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Channels Media Group, Mr. John Momoh.

It is scheduled to hold in Lagos.

READ ALSO: Negotiating With Bandits Is Not The Best – Abdulsalami Abubakar

“The escalating spate of insecurity, banditry, kidnapping, regional agitations, killings of innocent citizens and other forms of violence have continued to cause deep concern to well-meaning citizens at home and abroad,” Abdusalami’s letter read.

“The NPC has been receiving requests from well-meaning Nigerians at home and abroad urging the NPC to intervene by raising its voice.

“In response, the NPC has decided as a first step to organise a meeting with the Stakeholders, Traditional Rulers, NGOs and CSOs.

“The purpose is for us to listen to one another and seek how we can chart a way forward.”

The NPC is a nonprofit founded in 2014 as a response to “emerging threats occasioned by the 2015 general elections,” according to a page on its website.

Its members include the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, and billionaire industrialist, Aliko Dangote, among other eminent Nigerians.

Last week, General Abdusalami had met with President Muhammadu Buhari in a closed-door session at the State House in Abuja

Although no formal statement was made immediately after the meeting, its agenda may not be unconnected to the general state of insecurity across the country.

PHOTOS: Abdulsalami, Wife Take COVID-19 Vaccine Jabs

Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, takes his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at his hilltop residence in Minna, the Niger State capital on March 12, 2021.

 

Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, and his wife, Justice Fati Abubakar, have received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

General Abdulsalami and his wife took their first doses of the vaccine jabs on Friday at their hilltop residence in Minna, the Niger State capital.

He appealed to Nigerians not to be afraid to take the vaccine, noting that it had been declared safe for usage by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The former military leader also called on Nigerians to adhere to the COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical protocols despite taking the vaccines.

Highlights of the vaccination of General Abdulsalami and his wife are captured in the pictures below:

Insecurity: Negotiating With Bandits Is Not The Best – Abdulsalami Abubakar

 

Former Head of State, Retired General Abdusalami Abubakar says negotiating with terrorists and bandits is not the best way to tackle the menace. 

Speaking on Tuesday after a meeting with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum in Minna, the former president stated that the best way to solve Nigeria’s banditry and kidnapping issues is to first make sure that the crimes are not committed.

While admitting that sometimes negotiations might be used to save the lives of kidnap victims, General Abdulsalami said the nation needs tight security that can checkmate the miscreants before they strike.

Making a reference to the Kagara abduction, Abdulsalami noted that “even if anyone knows where the students are, it will be foolhardy to storm the place in a bid to fight and bring them back”, arguing that in the process some innocent lives will be lost.

He, however, urged the authorities to ensure that security is beefed up to forestall further occurrences.

According to him, the nation’s security architecture is overstretched and the Police Force is underpopulated, hence the need for support from the citizens and an increase in manpower.

General Abdulsalami appealed that all hands must be on deck to ensure that insecurity in the country is tackled appropriately. He was of the opinion that the nation must go back to the time when brotherly love existed.

“Let us go back to when we were our brothers’ keeper,” Abdulsalami pleaded.

The elder statesman said it is sad that citizens are now being seen as strangers and are looked at with suspicion when they leave their states of origin and visit other parts of the country.

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In a similar vein, former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida says the security threats faced by Nigeria at this time, can be dealt with.

In an interview on Tuesday, General Babangida stated that the nation can overcome its security issues if those in the position of authority plan appropriately.

He said quashing the threats posed by kidnappers, bandits, and the insurgents require a lot of planning, adding that it is not a short-term plan.

General IBB said he has obtained information suggesting that security agencies are working together to map out new strategies on how to deal with the situation.

The former president while stating that he is concerned about the situation in the country, urged the government and the citizenry to join forces to overcome the problem.

Kalu Visits IBB, Abdulsalami, Faults Zoning Of 2023 Presidency

Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, visits former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), at his residence in Minna, the Niger State capital on August 31, 2020.

 

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, has faulted the zoning of the presidency ahead of the 2023 general elections.

He described the office as an open basket for intending contestants, stressing that the idea of zoning was never constitutional nor contained in the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Senator Kalu made the remarks on Monday in Minna, the Niger State capital where he met with former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), at their residences.

“Zoning is a party issue, every party has the right to say where they want a position to come from but in APC, there is no issue of zoning. Anybody can contest for the presidency,” he told reporters.

The former governor of Abia State added, “It has not been zoned to any region and zoning is not in the constitution of APC and as long as it is not a constitutional matter of APC, the Presidency is an open basket which anybody can fight for.”

Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, at the residence of former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), in Minna, the Niger State capital on August 31, 2020.

 

On the issue of insecurity in the country, Senator Kalu believes there is sabotage in the system which must be urgently addressed by the authorities.

He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts on security and gave an assurance that the Senate would continue to push for efficiency among the security organs in the country.

The lawmaker said, “Security is a big challenge to everybody and the Senate is going to address this issue.

“Insecurity has defied any solution. I see a lot of sabotage in this issue of insecurity and I can assure you that the Senate will address the issue of sabotage.”

“The President must be very angry about what is going on; he is a known army general, top-class General and Commander in Chief. He is not happy at all and I am sure he is working to address it,” Senator Kalu stated.

He explained that his visit to the elder statesmen whom he described as his bosses was to rejoice with the former military president who turned 79 recently and to welcome the former head of state back from his medical trip.

While no journalist was allowed into General Babangida’s residence, reporters were allowed to take some footages at General Abdulsalami’s house before they were asked to leave.

Abdulsalami Asks FG To Review Nigeria’s Foreign Policy

 

Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has called on the Federal Government to review Nigeria’s foreign policy in the interest of the nation.

He made the appeal on Tuesday, at the maiden edition of the annual Foreign Policy Public Lecture by the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.

According to him, the lecture is timely, considering these current times of uncertainty in global affairs.

Also speaking at the event, President of the association, Ambassador Oladapo Fafowora, said the decline in the quality of Nigeria’s Foreign Service and Foreign Policy made the lecture necessary in order to reset them and make them more effective.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, was also in attendance among others.

The former Minister states categorically that Nigeria’s foreign policy is too foreign and has not been harnessed to ensure national development.

Abdulsalami Challenges Nigerians To Promote Peace Globally

 

Former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has called on Nigerians to play their roles in ensuring peace in the country and across the world.

He made the call on Saturday while addressing an audience at the second edition of the Second General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Annual Peace Lecture organised to commemorate the International Day of Peace in Minna, the state capital.

Abdulsalami said, “A lot has been said about our role in making peace. It is my prayer that peace reigns not only in Niger State, not only in Nigeria, not only in Africa; but indeed, the world over.

“Each and every one of us here, as it has been said, has a role to play and I hope we will play that role.”

The former Head of State informed the gathering that his greatest dream and hope was to have a peaceful and united Nigeria.

He, therefore, called on the people of the country irrespective of their political and ethnic background to be tolerant of one another and urged the youths to shun violence.

 

Bad Politicians?

Speaking as the guest lecturer at the event, the state governor, Mr Abubakar Bello, highlighted the importance of dialogue in tackling the security challenges in the country.

Former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), speaks at the Second General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Annual Peace Lecture in Minna, Niger State on September 21, 2019.

 

According to him, military intervention in the nation’s security challenges is not necessary except dialogue fails.

The governor identified population explosion and lack of clear cut grazing routes as catalysts for most of the security challenges in the country, as reflected in the clashes between farmers and herders.

He commended the Abdulsalami Institute for Peace for its efforts in promoting peace in the country and called on other eminent Nigerians to contribute their quota towards Nigeria’s development.

Governor Bello also advocated the engagement of traditional rulers, especially village and district heads in peace-building and conflict resolution process, noting that they are closer to the people.

He decried that situation where many eminent personalities, including those in active public service, have become complacent and doing nothing to proffer solution to the challenges in the country.

The governor described some politicians as bad people who promote violence and unhealthy rivalry and asked them to desist from acts capable of disrupting the peace and progress of the country.

He alluded to the Rwandan genocide and the Civil War in Nigeria as clear examples of what could happen to a nation when eminent citizens channel their efforts in the wrong direction.

Governor Bello, therefore, urged Nigerians to see good in themselves and the nation, stressing that no investor would come to a country where the citizens do not see anything good about themselves.

Former Head Of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar Calls For Peace Ahead Of Results

 

Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar has called on Nigerians to maintain peace during and after the elections.

General Abdulsalami stated this after he and his spouse finished casting their votes at the Hill Top, Water Tank polling unit in Chanchaga LGA on Saturday.

He called on the contestants to be aware that only one of them will emerge the winner and whoever loses should concede defeat for peace.

READ ALSO: Governor Tambuwal Expresses Satisfaction With Conduct Of Polls

General Abdulsalami who said without peace there would’ be no election, appealed to all contestants to accept what the results when they are released, regardless if they win or lose.

“I want to appeal to all contestants to know that only one of them will emerge the winner, and whoever emerges the winner I hope the losers will accept,” he stated.

He equally appealed to the electorate and party representatives to maintain order while sorting out the results.