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The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has asked Nigerian Government and its people to do all within their powers to deliver a credible polls next year as the world expects nothig but a rancour-free result that will deepen democracy in the country.
Symington made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at the Peace and Security Network (PSN) Third Confab Series with the theme: “Securitization of the Election Process and the Prevention of Violence”. The US envoy noted that next year’s election in Nigeria was very crucial to Nigeria, adding that the world was watching with keen interest to see how Nigerians will conduct the elections and what the outcome would be.
Symington, who noted that every election could be challenging, however urged every Nigerian,to unite and work in love and trust and not engage in hateful speech or acts if they must achieve a peaceful and productive elections. He further encouraged Nigeria to harness the energy and opportunity of her extraordinary youthful population for the good of its people and all its neighbours and the whole world. The ambassador said: “It’s the hope of the world that Nigerian election will be credible transparent, fair and also the hope of the world that every Nigerian is engaged. “There is no election in the world that would have election in February that is more important to the world than Nigeria, the reason for that is the potential population bomb or explosion, infact the population of this part of the word is already exploded, that bomb has already gone off.” “The question is how to harness the energy and opportunity of this extraordinary youthful population for the good of it’s people all its neighbours and the whole world, and there is one thing that would make the difference and that will be the ties that bind people of Nigeria, ties of friendship of trust. Not of hate but of love, not of desperation but of purpose, not having hate speech, or hateful acts, but acts of love and kindness.
“During the course of a nation, the moment that those ties are often tested, are around election itself, so, the challenge us not just for the security forces and the government to plan, to resolve to share and to communicate and it’s not just for the citizens to do that too, both of those have to work together” “I think if that network focuses in this way, the chances of elections next year, will be peaceful and productive,” he stressed. Speaking with the National Coordinator of PSN, Mr. Adeolu Adewumi, he noted that the confab series could not be more apt towards ensuring a violence free Elections. He however regretted the unresolved crises across states in the country with potentials to fuel election violence while calling stakeholders to close ranks and work for the success of the elections. The country Director, Mercy Corps Nigeria, Dr. Darius Radcliffe, however, urged all security forces to remain apolitical during the electoral process. He also pledged his support and commitment, saying: “We at Mercy Corps will commit to ensuring a peaceful election. We have a strong collaboration with government, security forces, LGAs, and religious leaders”