As the 2019 campaigns draw near, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, has admonished gladiators to focus their electioneering on issues rather than adopting rhetoric that will further divide the people. The former anti-graft boss enjoined political leaders, especially those contesting elective offices, to rein in their supporters from perpetrating violence in any form, stressing that Nigeria needs peace and unity for a successful election next year.
This is just as All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) gubernatorial candidate in Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti, warned that the party and its candidates must not be made the whipping boy in the forthcoming elections in the state. Otti, whose name was published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the APGA candidate, said: “We are going to Abia this time with red eye; this is not 2015.”
Speaking when a group of Abia indigenes paid him a solidarity visit in Lagos, Otti said he would not allow a repeat of the events of 2015 Abia governorship campaign, where he was maliciously attacked by the ruling party.The APGA guber hopeful stated: “If they stop me from campaigning, I will stop them from campaigning. If you pull down my billboard, I will pull down your billboard. I have dropped the garb of gentility.
“It was an American author, Mark Twain, who said it is better to keep your mouth closed and let the people think you are a fool, than to open it and remove all doubts. But I will like to rephrase that by saying, ‘it is better to keep your mouth closed and let the people think you are wise, than to open it and make a fool of yourself.
“They have opened their mouths and we have seen that they are fools. Enough is enough. Abia people are completely fed up of almost 20 years of PDP misrule and are now poised to break the chain so as to enthrone a regime of progress and prosperity.”Waziri, who spoke while fielding questions from journalists at the sideline of an event in Lagos last weekend, said: “For me, I believe the elections will hold as scheduled. My only concern is the level of toxicity in the statements of some political leaders.
“This is not really good for the polity, especially now that election campaigns will formally begin in a matter of days from now. So, this is the time for every patriotic political leader most especially those aspiring for offices and who will be going round to mobilise the people, to avoid hate speech that is capable of inciting their followers and supporters to violence.
“We cannot afford to set the country on fire with our words because if the nation is set ablaze and the people are killed, there is no other Nigeria in Europe, America or Asia to call our country and there will be no citizens to lead and govern. I think the people will be more interested in their plans, programmes and agenda for them than toxic words that breed violence.”She said Nigeria has lost too many innocent souls to the orgy of violence in some parts of the country in the recent past, saying it could not afford to waste more human capital in the name of political campaigns and elections.
“It is a good thing that the recent spate of killings in some parts of the country is subsiding now. Our political leaders owe the masses the duty to maintain the peace so that we will not have to witness election related bloodshed, which may have more devastating effect on the socio-economic and political development of the country.”
Maintaining that integrity should be the main consideration for electing the next set of leaders in the country, the former EFCC chairman said that it is imperative if the political actors are serious about rapid growth and development, adding, “Naturally, from my background, it is obvious my answer to that is positive because if we don’t play up integrity, transparency and accountability in assessing those who want to lead us, then we must be joking about the future of the country. Only good and genuine leaders can build the future for generations yet unborn,” she declared.
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