Being a speech delivered by Comrade Sheriff Mulade during a peace walk in Warri on Monday
The peace walk of today, the 11th of February, 2019, is necessitated by the very sensitive period we find ourselves in Nigeria, the period of election. In less than a week from today, Nigeria will hold the long awaited general elections that will usher in a new government.
From history, Nigeria elections remain some of the most volatile in the world. The Center for Peace and Environmental Justice is very concerned about the incessant deaths as a result of bickering, discrepancies and the unbridled desire by our politicians to win elections by all means. There is hardly any election in which Nigeria does not lose a crop of promising men and women due to electoral crises.
It therefore behooves on well meaning Nigerians to do everything possible to fight against violence and bloodshed that characterized previous elections in the country. This is why we have taken it upon ourselves to sensitize the public as well as call on the Inspector General of Police, the military and all those charged with the responsibility to maintain peace in our land to ensure that no life is lost in this 2019 election.
We are also calling on all political parties to ensure peace as elections are not a do-or-die affair. Elections should not be taken to the extreme of losing lives and shedding the blood of any Nigerian who is higher and greater than the entire exercise.
We are here to affirm and protect the sanctity of human lives and to appeal to all stakeholders to see the lives of Nigerians as sacrosanct and should not be sacrificed on the alter of politics.
We use this medium to call on our dynamic President Mohammad Buhari to ensure that law enforcement agents do the needful by protecting the lives and property of law abiding Nigerians. No Nigerian must die in the 2019 elections. If the law enforcements agents can deliver on their mandates during the elections, we will not hesitate to thank them for a job well done.
We hereby inform you that all eyes are on the law enforcement agents and you cannot afford to fail the country. The international community is also watching and you cannot afford to fail the nation.
The killings and violence that characterized previous elections have created apathy towards the 2019 polls, hence the country often recorded low voter turnout in elections.
The number of people that have come out to support our NGO in actualizing this peace walk is a pointer to the fact that millions of Nigerians want violence free elections. The crowd here today has joined the CEPEJ peace walk to your office to help convey to the Acting Inspector General of Police our desire for violence free elections in Nigeria.
We are tired of repeating the bitter aftermath of violence and chaos that bedeviled past general elections, a situation that led us to where we are today.
Political parties, party leaders and supporters should be reminded that election times are for voters to choose credible leaders and not a time for war and bloodletting.
Taking stock of how we fared in this campaign period, CEPEJ as an environmental and peace advocate hereby notes with sadness the deaths, chaos and violence that occurred during the recent political party campaigns nationwide.
The Center for Peace and Environmental Justice regrets the number of deaths already recorded in various parts of the country which, in our candid submission, are highly regrettable and must not be allowed to repeat itself especially in the February 16 and March 2 general elections.
We call on the youths to strictly obey the law in order to win and sustain the confidence of other Nigerians in them.
We urge all political leaders to desist from inflammatory utterances that can incite fellow citizens into violence before, during and after the elections. We will hold them accountable for their actions.
While individual responsibility is emphasized, we stress that political parties and party leaders must control and ensure good conducts of their supporters.
We call on Nigerians to be vigilant in the defense of their democratic rights. Vote consciously and wisely to secure the future of our country. The results of public opinion polls should not be taken as conclusive indicators of the election results. It is only your votes that should count, therefore vote wisely.
The youths hold the future of this country. This is the time to make the difference by choosing the right leaders. You must desist from being used as a ready made political thugs to go violent against one another, or as agents of hate through the social media. We urge you to use this platform to preach peace and influence positive change in Nigeria.
Elections are important for a democratic society and the nation is bigger than each of us. There will be Nigeria after 2019 general elections and this is not the last election in Nigeria.
We therefore, call on all candidates and their supporters to accept the outcome of the 2019 polls in the interest of 170 million Nigerians; let peace reign in everyone’s heart, in every home and in every corner of our country. The Nigerian dream must be realised without bloodshed.
Nigeria is a Great Country, with Great People!
We use this medium to sensitize the public and the world at large on our role in the propagation of and the fight for the mentainance of peace in Nigeria and other African countries.
Please note that in the last general elections, the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) led by its National Coordinator, Comrade Sheriff Mulade complemented the efforts of security agents and electoral umpire through peaceful advocacy to promote unity and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.
The Center is a Pan African non governmental, non-religious, non political and not-for-profit civil society organization established in 2007 as Niger Delta Reorientation Project, NDRP. It identifies and analyzes factors inhibiting the attainment of harmonious relations among ethnic groups, particularly the barriers to their participation in social, economic, commercial, financial, cultural and political endeavors.
Together we can do it better, that is why we are in this engagement with you today.
Thanks for your support and God bless you.