Former President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated Atiku Abubakar of PDP, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, and Bola Tinubu of APC for emerging as 2023 presidential candidates, advising them to avoid insulting one another and inciting violence.
He urged the candidates to run a campaign devoid of rancor and divisiveness by ensuring that issues confronting Nigeria and credible solutions take the center stage in their electioneering campaigns.
“As I have always said, no ambition is worth the life of another. As candidates, you must eschew violence and acts that will encourage any form of bloodletting or exacerbate the national fault lines. We live in a season of unprecedented violence and all political leaders have a responsibility to de-escalate the tension in the country,” stated the ex-president.
He added, “The candidates by conduct and language must prioritize non-violence and peaceful coexistence.”
Mr. Jonathan, in a statement issued by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, on Thursday, congratulated other presidential flag bearers, including Rabiu Kwankwaso of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Malik Ado-Ibrahim of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Dan Nwanyanwu of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Dumebi Kachikwu of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Mr. Jonathan said that their emergence as the flag bearers of their parties after submitting themselves to rigorous selection and election processes demonstrated their beliefs and interests in the progress of the nation.
“I consider you are all aspiring to be elected as the leader of the country because you are democrats who believe, like the rest of us, that Nigeria is our common heritage which we should all strive to protect, prosper and preserve for the future generation,” Mr. Jonathan explained. “As you progress towards the electioneering campaigns, it is important that the issues confronting the country and credible solutions take center stage.”
He urged them to conduct their campaigns in a manner devoid of acrimony, divisiveness and treachery “so that at the end of the day Nigeria will win, democracy will triumph and humanity will be better for it.”
Mr. Jonathan also urged all stakeholders to place national interest above personal interest and stated that everyone must be committed to upholding virtues that would sustain Nigeria’s democracy and advance the cause of good governance, peace and sustainable development.
“Nigeria is at a critical junction in its march to nationhood as it grapples with security and economic challenges. The 2023 elections present an opportunity to renew our union, rebuild the dreams of our founding fathers and revitalize our economy,” he noted.
Mr. Jonathan also urged all leaders, especially politicians, to prioritize the peace and stability of the nation as 2023 general elections’ politicking kicked off.
He charged all citizens to make honest and patriotic choices that would guarantee the hope that Nigerians desire for themselves and the nation. Mr. Jonathan advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to continue to deepen the reforms of the country’s electoral system.