AS Nigerians go to vote and decide who occupies Aso Rock as from May 29, 2015 on March 28, let us all as Nigerians resolve that, whichever way it goes the winner and losers of the election should accept verdict in good faith, with philosophical equanimity, without threatening the peaceful existence of the nation, writes Raymond Osogbe, Our Senior Correspondent.
As every cock crow gradually gravitates towards March 28, the day set aside for the nation’s presidential election, the presidential candidates are seriously engaged in selling their promises to Nigerians.
This interesting scenario of the ongoing electioneering campaigns revolves around incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), of the All Peoples Congress (APC).
It’s quite obvious that the duo seemed to have dominated the presidential campaigns and bookmakers also agree that, the March 28 race to Aso Rock is between the incumbent President Jonathan and former head of state, Major General Buhari rtd.
However, it is glaring that the electioneering campaigns of both the incumbent and the opposition have been devoid of issues, rather mudslinging and post mortem of past deeds appears to be the dominant spices offered the electorates.
Unlike the second republic presidential election campaigns, this milliennium presidential campaigns does not only lack content, but it is simply clueless, colourless and uninteresting as no categorical issues are being canvassed.
For example non of the two leading presidential candidates have been courageous enough to make a categorical statement of fact on education, health, shelter among many other cardinal factors as policies.
It is a statement of fact that, the only means or medium that the son or daughter of a ghetto squatter in Ajegunle can compete favourably with the sons and daughters of the novice rich in a millennium Nigeria, as through a well coordinated free education programme for the citizenry.
Anything short of this, amounts to corruption on the part of the ruling class. It is the free education programme introduced by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the 50s to 60s that put the entire South West ahead of other zones in Nigeria today.
Are we saying we cannot repeat such again? I am of the opinion if we want to. It is only a well coordinated free education programme at all levels that help to checkmate corruption, wipe away ignorance, and assist in comprehending voters education and as well as enhancing our General Domestic Product (GDP).
It is rather an irony, to observer that some of our so called national leaders of both leading political parties, who were themselves beneficiaries of free education or subsidized free education are all in what amounts to a conspiracy against the people, not talking of how our numerous children will be educated in this millennium.
The people of this country deserves nothing short of free education in their present state of economic quagmire.
Anything short of this in the guise of one reason or the other amounts to a coup against the people.
Of course, they say a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. On the premise, this writer would had been most glad, had the two leading political gladiators told Nigerians, how they are going to enhance the health sector and as well guarantee easy accessibility on the part of the people.
It’s rather absurd that instead of taking Nigerians how they are going to impact on the lives of Nigerians in these critical areas, what we see and hear is attack of personalities mudslinging of one another and that of electoral violence.
Housing is a critical need of man. We are aware that non of the PDP nor APC Presidential candidates in the campaigns have been able to present a comprehensive roadmap of how they are going to reduce the housing deficit in the country to the advantage of the ordinary man.
Due to high cost of living, it is no gain say, that most persons (including government workers) are unable to have a shelter of their own.
The consequential effect of this on the affected persons is a tale , we are reserving for another day. Therefore, it is behove of a sensitive government or a leading candidate of the opposition to clarify their policies as it affects this subject matter.
Amidst this perceived lapses, we are hearing songs of war as orchestrated by some interest groups of both divide. Let me sound it loud and clear that, Nigerians having witnessed the civil war, against insurgency and wars as reflected by International Communication agencies, will resist every attempt by politicians to bring this nation to war.
This writer is of the view that Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians. No one Nigerian irrespective of his position own Nigeria more than another Nigerian. So the feelings between the political class and the people ought to be mutual: peace and tranquility reigning in Nigeria.
Politicians as statesmen ought to be wary of their utterances. We should put Nigeria as a unified project for above our parochial interest. We should learn in all circumstances to be faithful, loyal and dedicated to our great country.
Like the tongue and teeth that often have misunderstanding as quickly as possible settle without external interference, our politicians should cultivate good sportsmanship spirit in every electoral contest.
Chosen to lead is a rare privilege that can ever be granted on individual. This privilege must be sustained with dignity and condour, that is devoid of hatred, bitterness oppression and violence.
Let me not end this piece without a piece of advice for gentlemen of the press upon whom much is expected in this enterprise.
Permit me to say that, in this critical times, the press must not fall into the body traps of anti-nationalists, who does not want anything good for the nation, but crisis.
The press should avoid sensational reporting that threatens peaceful coexistence of the nation.
Journalists should always learn to pick their stories from angles that promote national unity, rather that angles that will enhance hatred stampede and violence.
National interest should over-ride all other interests for now. This is because, the arrest and whittling of the perceived electoral violence rest squarely on how effective the press is able to manage the situation.
In other words, the press is a serious critical stakeholder in the ongoing electoral process. This is a period we have to do critical editing of political speeches to enhance peace among our people.
Of course the press should probably key into the Nigerian media code of election coverage as enshrined by representatives of Nigerian media organisations, institutions, professional bodies and support groups.
In this regard, Journalists are expected to apply the principle of equity in the coverage and reportage of campaigns and other activities of parties and candidates contesting the election.
Also the media organisations are expected to uphold right of parties and candidates to reply to allegations made against them.
Again, the media as a matter of deliberate policy target under-represented groups, especially women, youths, persons living disabilities and rural dwellers in the coverage and reportage of the electoral process.
Above all no matter who is involved, Journalists are expected to reflect fairness, accuracy and balance in the coverage and reportage of the electoral process.
All that needed to be done to uphold the integrity and credibility of our reports during the critical period should be done.
No doubt, all Journalists are expected to be on their guard this period, just as we urge all stakeholders to refrain from abusing and battering any Journalist.
It is of essence here to reflect that the security of Journalists covering the electoral process rest squarely on the electoral body (INEC), Security Agencies, political parties and of course the electorates.
This is because, once the Journalists are distracted in any form, the credibility of their reports are likely not to be guaranteed.
Also, it is fundamental to sound a note of advice to our security agencies to allow themselves to be probably guided by their professional ethics as they moderate their electoral process.
They should reflect impartiality as they are seen as authentic symbols of peace and cohesion.
Again, I wish to say that after May 28 presidential election, a winner and a loser will definitely emerge, but the occurrence will not be enough to plunge our dearest nation into crises.
On this note, let me admonish the electorates to shun all acts of violence before, during and after the election.
Let us all resolve that, whatever and whichever way it goes, the winner and loser of the March 28 Presidential election should accept the verdict with philosophical equanimity, just as normal life of the people goes on.
There is a saying which says “If you cannot help my course, do not destroy it”. We should all collectively strive to sustain the Nigerian project.
Nigeria a beautiful country of multi-dimensions, in terms of ethnic tribes and geography. A land that encompasses the mangrove swamps, rain forest and savannah.
We should be occupied with the thought of harnessing our great potentials in terms of human and natural resources, rather than beating drums of war.
By God’s grace, nobody is going to fight nobody. We shall all play by the rules and remain indissoluble before, during and after the election.
God bless and save Nigeria.

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