Nigeria’s National Peace Committee this evening appealed to all citizens to remain calm as the nation awaits the results of the presidential election conducted at the weekend.
In a statement signed by its chairman, General Abdusalam Abubakar, and its Coordinator, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, the group commended Nigerians, the security agencies, civil society groups and the Internet community as the country enters what it described as the most difficult phase: the vigil before the declaration of the results.
Celebrating the events of Saturday, it said, “Across the entire country, we were gratified to receive news of huge turnouts of our people to cast their votes. Nigerians across the different segments of our society conducted themselves in a most peaceful and credible manner. They patiently stood with equanimity, co-operated with the officials of INEC in areas where minor glitches occurred with card readers, late arrival of officials and materials along with other logistical challenges. We saw voters supporting one another with food and water, seats, mats, umbrellas and so on. We watched the young assist the elderly. We showed that our common humanity is more important than political differences. We could not have asked for more from our people. Our citizens performed their civic duties faithfully and we are very proud of what we achieved as a people.”
It also drew attention to the pride of place of social media on the process, describing it as a great tool for enhancing accountability and transparency, which strengthens democracy.
But while social media has given all citizens the voice as individuals and communities, the challenge is now how responsibly it is used, the National Peace Committee warned.
“We therefore appeal to our citizens to remain calm, to INEC to ensure that its officials along with party agents uphold the tenets of transparency and accountability that the body has so much espoused. We call on the security agencies to remain vigilant and neutral. We renew our trust in the leadership of INEC and its commitment to doing the right thing.”
It stressed that no individual, institution or platform is allowed by law to announce the results of these elections, no matter how accurate or factual their information may be, as that power is given by law only to the electoral commission.
“The organization will do this after a painstaking and diligent collection and collation of final results from well over 120,000, polling units across the country,” the committee said. “In our experience, the journey of these results from the Ward, Local Government to the State level is a challenging one and fraught with many dangers. This is where the anxieties and fears of Nigerians lie. This is where the land mines leading to violence are planted. This is where conscience and patriotism beckon on us before God to do the right thing.”
It noted it has obtained the assurances of the two leading candidates, President Goodluck Jonathan and Major General Muhammad Buhari, that they are willing to cooperate with INEC so long as the process remains transparent, and that it will do everything in its power to ensure that Nigeria crosses “this very difficult bridge”.
“We appeal to you to remain calm to ensure that our nation is the final victor,” it said.