In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
The JNI under the leadership of its President-General, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and his lieutenants have been following with keen interest all the political activities and events going on in the country in the recent times. It is obvious that these activities and events seem to be so overwhelming, just as the pace at which they occur is as rapid as the passage of time itself. From the PVC distribution exercise and other preparations towards the elections to the political rallies and campaigns at different levels, there always emerged issues and incidents that generated excitements, concerns and even anxieties.
Against the backdrop of these happenings, the JNI feels obliged to comment at the present time with a view to calling on not only Muslims but the entire citizens of our great country to demonstrate real and genuine sense of patriotism, responsibility, tolerance and commitment to peace and stability in Nigeria, before, during and after the forthcoming elections.
As an important stakeholder in the elections, in the governance of the country and indeed because of its firm commitment to the country’s unity, stability and progress, the JNI believes that this call on the citizens for peace is essentially and genuinely both a religious and civic obligation.
It has always been the case that not only in Nigeria but in all democratic societies in the world seasons of general elections are usually fraught with anxieties, uncertainties and even tensions. It is apparent that the elections in the next two weeks are the most keenly contested in the history of our country. While all these situations keep growing by each day that comes to pass, the political atmosphere increasingly gets charged. With clashes between rival political supporters and thugs occurring at one place or the other, a state of fear of drifting to wide-spread violence as witnessed in 2011 is already setting in. For instance, Bishop Oyedepo of Winners Chapel at Ota, was reported to have made a lot of inciting hate speech recently, Tompolo and Asari Dokubo are not left out, this is just to mention but a few.
In view of this rather worrisome situation, all stakeholders both locally and internationally have been preoccupied with the search for ways of mitigating violence before, during and after the elections. The JNI, therefore, finds it necessary to discharge what it believes is an obligation upon itself; that is, to call on all Nigerians to shun violence in any way, in any form and at all phases of the elections and its aftermath.
In particular, the JNI wishes to specially call on the prime actors – the INEC, the presidential candidates and contestants at all levels, as well as the political party leaders and officials, to do whatever it takes to avoid utterances and actions that portend or precipitate violence.
Bearing the burden of the trust of leadership, being conscious of the imperative of truthfulness in salvaging a rather drifting polity, and most importantly for the sake of posterity, the JNI hereby asserts that the most significant antidotes to violence are two: (I) free, fair and credible elections on one hand, and (II) faithful acceptance of the outcome of elections by all. In any election, there must be winners and losers, and we would only get it right when the elections are obviously and manifestly seen to be transparent and credible in conduct, and consequently the losers accept defeat in good faith.
In the light of the above, the JNI wishes to make this clarion call to the principal contenders in the presidential and gubernatorial races to, as a matter of faith, personal reputation, and statesmanship respect the Abuja Peace Accord and guard against all actions and utterances that may trigger violence. Similarly, the JNI calls on the INEC to keep to its duty with faith and sincerity to God and to the country by demonstrating real commitment to free, fair and credible elections. It is our firm belief that doing everything possible to forestall violence and save lives and property in the forthcoming elections is our collective obligation that we all have to discharge and we must, therefore, all stand up to do it faithfully and devoutly.
Finally, the JNI prays to ALLAH, the Almighty God, to grace our great country with violence-free elections and bless us with God-fearing and responsible leaders at all levels of governance that will lift the nation to higher levels of prosperity and faster paces of development. May Allah bless us all, Amin.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord and Cherisher of the universe. May His Peace and Blessings be upon His Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), Amin.
Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu