Ahead of Saturday’s elections, former President Goodluck Jonathan has enjoined Nigerians especially the youths to be patriotic, peaceful and display true sportsmanship as they exercise their civic right to vote for candidates of their choice.
Jonathan, who stated this in a message to Nigerians released by his office on Tuesday, also urged politicians to eschew hatred and violence, urging them to be circumspect in their actions and work towards consolidating the nation’s democracy.
On his charge to the youths, Jonathan, who is noted to be the first incumbent president in Nigerian history to concede defeat in an election said, “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.
“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.”
The former President, who led the country from 2010 – 2015, noted that the 2023 election meant so much to all the citizens, describing it as a moment of truth and courage.
He stated, “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.”
He said, “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 the 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 jeopardise our country’s peace and unity as we exercise our franchise and pursue our political dreams and aspirations.”
Jonathan noted that in recent times, West Africa and a few other nations in our continent had witnessed a crisis of democracy that had led to unconstitutional change of governments, which derailed their democratic quest for peace and development.
He added, “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 realise 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.
The former President added, “I urge the Independent National Electoral Commission, 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 minimise 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 the 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.”