President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on Wednesday in Abuja told the National Committee on Peaceful Elections that he is totally committed to ensuring peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria on Saturday and April 11.
The delegation was led by former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. Other members of the delegation were Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd.); Cardinal John Onaiyekan; the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar; Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah; Prof. Zainab Alkali; Sam Amuka-Pemu; Mrs. Priscilla Kuye; and Justice Rose Ukeje.
Mr. Jonathan urged all political parties, their candidates and supporters to approach the elections with more patriotism and a greater willingness to place the larger interest of the country above personal ambitions, presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said in a statement.
“The President said that the Federal Government had worked very hard over the years to promote strong democratic institutions that will sustain the country’s democracy and will not tolerate any form of violence during or after the polls that could reverse the gains of the present democratic dispensation in the country.
“My cardinal principle has always been, and still remains that the ambition of any Nigerian is not worth the blood of any body. I am not a violent person and I don’t tolerate violence in any form. I don’t believe that violence can be used to achieve anything meaningful in life.
He told the group he was giving his total commitment to peaceful elections in the country, not because he has been persuaded to do so, but because he believes in it.
He also called on religious and political leaders, community heads and other senior citizens in the country to be vociferous in condemning incidences of electoral violence in the country, such as the stoning of opponents.
A SaharaReporters correspondent said it was an interesting choice of language for the President, because his wife, Patience, is on record as asking her husband’s supporters to stone anyone who advocates change.
“President Jonathan also said that he would be quite willing to meet and sign another peace accord with the Presidential Candidate of the All Progress Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to further emphasize his total commitment to a violence-free poll on Saturday,” the statement said.
In his speech, Gen. Abubakar commended the President for his consistency in insisting on peaceful, free and fair elections in the country at all levels.
At another meeting with a group of international election monitors, President Jonathan gave an assurance the coming elections will not generate the type of violence that followed the 2011 elections, Mr. Abati said.
The international observers were from the African Union Group, led by Dr. Amos Sawyer; the Commonwealth Group, led by Dr. Bakili Muluzi; the European Parliament, and the Republican Institute.