A former President of the United States of America, Barrack Obama, has urged Nigerians to reject the voices of those calling for violence as the country heads to the polls to elect its next president.
In a video message posted on his social media handles, Obama said for elections to be credible, they must be free, fair and peaceful.
The former US president said all Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear. He called on the candidates vying for the country’s highest office to make it abundantly clear to their supporters that violence has no place in democratic elections.
He said, “Today I want to speak directly to you, the people of Nigeria. Nigeria is a great nation, and you can be proud of the progress you have made. Together, you won your independence, emerged from military rule and strengthened democratic institutions.
“Now you have a historic opportunity to help write the next chapter of Nigeria’s progress by voting in the upcoming elections.”
Obama further stated that when elections are free and fair, it is the place of all citizens, regardless of who emerges victorious, to help keep the peace.
On Saturday, February 25, the electorate in Africa’s most populous nation will head to the polls to decide the country’s next president, with the second four-year term of Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd) set to expire by May 29.
18 political parties will vie for the country’s top job, even though the election is largely considered a three-horse race between Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Ahead of Saturday’s election, the candidates on Wednesday committed to ensuring a peaceful exercise by signing a peace accord in Abuja, the nation’s capital.