Former Head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon, says Nigerians at all levels of society must participate in the 2019 general elections process, just as he called on elders in the country not to be silent regarding the state of the country, with a focus on post-election stability in the country.
According to the elder statesman, it is the role of all citizens to affirm our highest values with honourable and peaceful conduct while rejecting the worst vices being promoted by a tiny group of corrupt Nigerians who seek power at various levels. The former head of state said this at a briefing in Abuja, tagged, ‘The Burden of the Elders at the Dawn of 2019 General Elections’.
He said Nigeria’s journey to true nationhood since independence in 1960 has been slow, but incremental. He gave reasons for the state of affairs.
“The central reason for our unsteady journey is fairly obvious as no nation can take a giant leap on the scale of human progress without true stewardship represented by a leadership that is visionary, honest, open, and patriotic.”
While admitting that the decline in moral standards in the country may have started long before now, he pointed out that “this overwhelming plunge into extreme greed and corruption of recent years has been a heartbreaking experience to us,” a trend he said posed a clear and present danger to the wellbeing of today’s children and generations yet unborn.
Gen. Gowon condemned a situation in which, according to him, elders sit by and watch the degeneration in societal values, stressing that “the violent turn of expressions, deepened economic hardships and increasing desperation of the national polity has to be reversed to keep hope alive.”
He added, “As we soak in all the attendant factors including the toxic political culture of the present hour and the predatory tonality of the ongoing election processes magnified by the fact that the country is still reeling from the shock of the postponed elections, it has become imperative that we must speak up as elders.”
While urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and politicians to live up to their responsibilities in the forthcoming elections, he threw a challenge to the elders in the country.
“As we soak in all the attendant factors including the toxic political culture of the present hour and the predatory tonality of the ongoing election processes magnified by the fact that the country is still reeling from the shock of the postponed elections, it has become imperative that we must speak up as elders.”
The former head of state did not stop there but also addressed another issue that constitutes a great to the nation’s development and proffered a solution.
“We recommend that a comprehensive strategy for addressing the cankerworm of corruption should be formulated by taking deliberate and painstaking steps for eliminating the root causes of corruption while developing a more sophisticated and even-handed for the investigation and prosecution of corrupt practices.”
Regarding Saturday’s elections, Gen. Gowon said, “God willing, we are determined to honour the call we started out with as our duty to our fatherland so that the banner we would hand over to future generations should be stainless rather than coloured crimson with the blood of the innocent.”
He appealed to Nigerians to calm down and work towards a sustainable future for the nation.