Ahead the presidential and National Assembly polls, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, and a group of eminent Nigerian statesmen have cautioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure credibility of the electoral process.
Kolade said that they were concerned about the safety of Nigerians during the process, adding that as a people, Nigerians must avert disaster and embraced peace, considering the state of the nation, and the toxic tone of the 2019 electioneering and hate speeches.
“If political ambition is based on nation building, then why the violent act; there is no point for violence.
”The nation is bleeding profusely… and approaching a frontier it has never seen before.”
The group which has the likes of former super permanent secretary, Chief Philip Asiodu, Mrs Folake Solanke, Ambassador George Obiozor, Professor Akin Mabogunje, Prof Anya O Anya, Pastor Shyngle Wigwe, Mr Olumide Onabolu (Secretary) and Ladi Thompson (contact person) as members, said as elders it could not sit back and watch things balloon out of control.
Anya is founding Chairman of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG, while Kolade, is one-time Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Addressing reporters in Lagos, Anya, Kolade, Asiodu and Wigwe, in a 717-word statement tilted: ”The Burden of the Elders 2019,” recalled the good and early days of Nigeria, and said the country could be rescued and made to work again according to the vision of the founding fathers.
“There is no point for Nigeria to disintegrate; those who want Nigeria to disintegrate have a narrowed view and personal gains to the best benefits of their immediate families,” they pointed out.
They urged the leading parties to embrace peace, and emulate the second stanza of the national anthem which project peace, unity, equity and justice.
They said that the elders and stakeholders of the nation had to converge on Lagos to work towards promoting Nigeria’s unity ahead of the Saturday polls. They said they represented the interest of the nation’s stability, adding that the objective of the group nation building.
Prof Philip Asiodu said to attain the desired unity, Nigerians needed a transformational leader with a vision for continuity and one Nigeria.
Asiodu said that the best form of leadership is for a people that have continually held onto hope in the face of great troubles.
He said that the slide in moral standards and value of human worth in Nigeria might have started many decades ago but this overwhelming plunge into extreme corruption in recent years had become a heart-breaking experience to the nation.
“It is difficult for elders to stand by and watch as the nation is bleeding profusely and pretend that all is well. The violent turn of expression, deepened economic hardships and increasing desperation of the national polity need to be reversed.”
Prof Anya on his part asked how can Nigerian youths secure their future when the nation’s challenge had crippled most of their dreams.
Anya said it was a pity hearing the cry of Nigeria’s great and great-grand children braving the desert trek and other hazardous routes to escape the pain that Nigerian life has become.
He added that their counsel to the nation as its approach the polls is to pursue a non-violent and non-partisan interventions towards a better Nigeria.
“Nigeria needs to return to the capture of our original vision where our call is to national duty.
He appealed to Nigerians across all generations not to be divided by tribe or religion but work for the future of the nation.