By Omololu Adebayo, Abuja.
The United States President, Barack Obama has appealed to the Presidential Candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Gen Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan to advise their followers to shun electoral violence even as the date for the 2015 general elections draws near.
He said, “I call on all leaders and candidates to make it clear to their supporters that violence has no place in democratic elections; and that they will not incite, support or engage in any kind of violence before, during, or after the votes are counted.
Speaking in a video, aired on Monday, President Obama urged Nigerians to take advantage of the election period just by doing the right thing and to be united in the stand against violence and extremism irrespective of who wins at the end of the polls period,” I call on all Nigerians to peacefully express your views and to reject the voices of those who call for violence. And when elections are free and fair, it is the responsibility of all citizens to help keep the peace, no matter who wins,” Obama added.
He also encouraged Nigerians to drop aside all religious and ethnic sentiments in order to support and ensure success in the democratic process, noting that it was key to fight the troubling challenges of the country.
“I’m told that there is a saying in your country: ‘to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done.’ Today, I urge all Nigerians; from all religions, all ethnic groups, to come together and keep Nigeria one. And in this task of advancing the security, prosperity, and human rights of all Nigerians, you will continue to have a friend and partner in the United States of America,” he said.
Speaking on the Boko Haram menace in the country, and the release of the over 200 abducted Chibok School girls, he maintained that only in exercising ones right to vote that one could help secure the nations progress.
In his words, “Boko Haram; a brutal terrorist group that kills innocent men, women and children, must be stopped. Hundreds of kidnapped children deserve to be returned to their families. Nigerians who have been forced to flee deserve to return to their homes. Boko Haram wants to destroy Nigeria and all that you have worked to build. By casting your ballot, you can help secure your nation’s progress.”