From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The United States of America has declared it is not supporting any candidate in the forthcoming elections in Nigeria.
The US Consul General, John Braide, stated this, yesterday, when he spoke at a ‘Vote not Fight’ sensitisation campaign peace concert, organised by Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI), held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Braide described Nigerians as lucky people and advised the electorate to use their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to elect credible leaders on February 16 and March 2.
He declared: “We are not here (in Nigeria) to support any candidate.
“We are here to support free, fair, credible and transparent election in Nigeria. Election is not war.”
On his part, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Usman Belel, advised Nigerian youths to ignore the destructive overtures of gullible politicians to use them to cause crisis during the forthcoming polls.
Belel noted that more than 70 percent of Nigerian voters are youths and advised; “do not destroy your tomorrow today.”
Also, Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, Mr. Obo Effanga, declared the commission’s readiness to conduct transparent elections.
Effanga said: “We want to change the narrative in Rivers state. We want to have election that would be as peaceful as a river. We are ready to conduct peaceful elections in Rivers state.
Similarly, popular musician, Innocent Idibia (also known as 2Baba), called on Nigerians, particularly Rivers people, to shun every form of political violence, in the forthcoming polls.
Idibia gave the advice when he spoke during the concert, of which the 2Baba Foundation was among the organisers.
He urged the electorate to vote and go home and avoid hate speech, describing the vote-buying as a vicious act that could truncate free, fair and credible electoral process.
Speaking further, Idibia advised Nigerians to take the message of violence-free polls to the grassroots and advised Nigerians not to sell their destiny because of “peanuts that would not have positive impact” on them.
Earlier, Project Coordinator of Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI), Onyekachi Okoro, in his statement, said Nigerian youths play major role in elections and should be sensitised against electoral violence.
He noted that the Rivers has been known as a narrative of violence, but stressed that “election is not for fight, but for us to elect people that can represent us favourably.”