Major contenders vying to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 have been advised to embrace peace ahead of the presidential elections, even as they are asked to prepare for the outcome in good faith.
In a goodwill message to mark the 62nd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, released on Saturday in Abuja, Acting Head of Mission and Country Representative, International Peace Commission of the United Nations, Amb. Hussaini H. Coomassie, said the presidential candidates should prioritise the message of peace, unity of Nigeria and her development during this campaign period.
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A former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar; a former Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu; a former Kano State governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and a former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi are the top presidential candidates.
Dr Coomassie, who doubles as the global vice chairman, Advocacy for Good Governance & Social Justice Network (AGGSJN), also warned supporters of the major presidential candidates against thuggery, hate speeches and fake news during the election campaign period.
While congratulating Nigerians home and abroad on the 62nd Independence Anniversary, the UN Representative expressed hope that the country will overcome all the challenges confronting her presently.
The statement reads: “From the International Peace Commission of the United Nations, we felicitate with Nigerians home and abroad for celebrating the country’s 62nd Anniversary of Independence from colonial rule.
“It is our firm belief that Nigeria shall overcome all her challenges and emerge a great Nation that is destined to be.
“As the Nigerians getting ready to elect another leader to succeed the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari next year, it is our hope, however, that the major contenders will prepare their minds and that of their supporters to gladly accept whatever the outcome will be in the sportsmanship spirit.
“This I emphasise should be registered in their minds that only one of them will emerge victorious at the poll as Nigerian voters will decide.
“Therefore, I urge the political gladiators and their supporters to embrace peace, preach peace and practice peace during and after this forthcoming exercise.
“Nigeria should be seen as a collective project and not a personal project. This Nation is greater than anyone and history will not forget in a hurry whatever said and done either in the country’s favour or against her,” Dr Coomassie said.