#NoToViolence: Kofi Annan charges politicians to make next month’s elections violence free

By Post Nigeria January 14, 2015 13:38

#NoToViolence: Kofi Annan charges politicians to make next month’s elections violence free

In a bid to avoid the kind of violence that engulfed the country after the 2011 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan and the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari are expected to sign a political accord ahead of the February 2015 general polls today.

The two candidates and the other presidential candidates, among other political stakeholders are currently at the 2015 General Elections Sensitization Workshop on Non-Violence.

The workshop, which is a follow-up of the All-political Parties and Stakeholders’ Summit in Abuja convened by the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, on June 12, 2014, is being chaired by former Secretary- General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Dr. Kofi Annan.

Among the speakers are former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, the United Nations Country Representative, and all the Presidential Aspirants.

Kofi Annan, who spoke on the guidelines and rules to be adhered to by the contesting parties, while speaking said whatever happens in Nigeria affect every citizen of the country, therefore all parties should take the non-violence political accord very seriously.

He said the looming violence can be curbed if the parties base their campaigns on issues rather than inflammatory remarks.

Annan, who emphasized that his being here was personal because Nigeria is a brother nation and whatever affects Nigeria, affects the whole region, also said Nigeria is important not just important to Africa but to the world because of their contribution to global oil and their contributions to UN peacekeeping forces.

He further said elections without credibility was not accepted in the world, and it robs people of their rights and make governance difficult, though the responsibility of ensuring the credible elections should not be solely left in the hands of the electoral body, but voters have equal responsibility in ensuring a free and fair election.

He charged Nigerians with the popular John F. Kennedy quote that “We should not ask what our country will do for us but what we can do for our country.”

He said citizens that do not vote should not complain about their leaders, because they had the chance to determine their leaders but abstained from the process.

Annan said he knows most candidates in a way control the mindsets and will of their supporters and followers, and therefore should be more issue-based so violence can be avoided, because violence is very quick to spread out of control.

The former UN Secretary General reiterated next month’s elections are a chance to promote Nigeria to the world, and Nigeria should rise up to expectations. He said Nigeria’s focus should be on the next generation, rather than the next elections.

He also said there cannot be peace without justice and that having a chaotic election would not be in the best interest of Nigeria, because it would deter potential investors from investing in the country.

He warned candidates not to turn to violence in the case of losing the elections, and their parties to focus on issues rather than using religion to turn people against each other.
According to Annan, Nigeria success in the forthcoming election will be Africa’s success therefore we should endeavour to make Africa Proud and stand as a country to look up to.