Nigerians go to the polling booths tomorrow Saturday, 28th March, 2015, with excitement mixed with trepidation. This is because the political campaigns and rallies have been characterized by hate speeches, blackmail, calumny, threat, violence and even murder.
We observe that the political class have thrown caution to the winds in the past three months and allowed primordial sentiment to rule their emotion. Nigeria’s political culture as manifested in the preparations for the 2015 poll cannot be described as chaste and civilized.
The concomitant ‘migration’ of Nigerians in large numbers from their workplaces to their states of origin as D-Day approaches merely helps to confirm the depth of the citizens’ fear and their total lack of confidence in the system. The allegations and counter allegations between the ruling party and the main opposition have also added fuel to the conflagration. Even at the eleventh hour, there are still accusations concerning plots to rig the election and suspicion about an interim national government or a military coup.
With this at the back of our minds, we of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) hereby express huge disappointment in the attitude of Nigeria’s leaders and some of the politicians. The only institution which we find deserving commendation is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Though it found itself in an entirely hostile environment, it has remained committed to professionalism and impartiality.
MURIC invites politicians to approach tomorrow’s election with a high sense of integrity and patriotism. Only thus can they shun the temptation to rig either for the purpose of perpetuating themselves in power or to wrestle power from the incumbent at all cost. We also urge politicians to avoid making wild, unsubstantiated and dangerous speculations before the results are officially announced by INEC. We appeal to Nigerian youths to distance themselves from politically motivated acts of violence.
We invite the security agencies to emulate the principled stand of INEC and avoid compromising their integrity. Only thus can they gain the respect of the citizens and the outside world in a post-election Nigeria. We remind them that not only are international election observers watching their behaviour, the floodlight of the whole world is now beamed on our country. They should not turn Nigeria into a laughing stock in the comity of nations.
The rainbow behind the clouds is the joint statement issued by President Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) in which they both agreed to accept the results of the election as declared by INEC. We urge all candidates to accept results in good faith.
No party must be seen as winning or losing. There shall be no victor, no vanquished. Nigeria must be the sole winner. Tomorrow’s election is designed to move our dear country forward. It is about Nigeria, not any political party.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)