Kaduna – Ahead of the general elections, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Jama’atul Nasrul Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar II, has called on Nigerians to embrace peace and patriotism.
Abubakar made the appeal in a statement signed by the Secretary General of the JNI, Dr Khalid Aliyu, made available to newsmen in Kaduna.
He called on Nigerians to “demonstrate genuine sense of patriotism, responsibility, tolerance and commitment to peace and stability’’ in the country before, during and after the upcoming elections.
The statement said the JNI believes that the call on the citizens for peace was essential and genuine both as a religious and civic obligation.
It noted that it was apparent that the elections in the next two weeks were the most keenly contested in the history of our country.
“While all these situations keep growing by each day that comes to pass, the political atmosphere increasingly gets charged, with clashes between rival political supporters and thugs occurring at one place or the other, a state of fear of drifting to wide-spread violence as witnessed in 2011 is already setting in,” it said.
“JNI, therefore, finds it necessary to discharge what it believes is an obligation upon itself; that is, to call on all Nigerians to shun violence in any way, in any form and at all phases of the elections and its aftermath.’’
It further enjoined prime actors, including INEC, presidential candidates and candidates at all levels, as well as the political party leaders and officials to “do whatever it takes to avoid utterances and actions that can bring about violence’’.
“Bearing the burden of the trust of leadership, being conscious of the imperative of truthfulness in salvaging a rather drifting polity, and most importantly for the sake of posterity,” urged the Sultan.
The JNI asserted that the most significant antidotes to violence were two; free, fair and credible elections on one hand, and faithful acceptance of the outcome of elections by all in good faith.
“In the light of the above, the JNI wishes to make this clarion call to the principal contenders in the presidential and gubernatorial races to, as a matter of faith, personal reputation and statesmanship respect the Abuja Peace Accord and guard against all actions and utterances that may trigger violence.’’
Besides, JNI urged INEC to keep to its duty with faith and sincerity to God and to the country by demonstrating real commitment to free, fair and credible elections.
The body also prayed ALLAH, the Almighty to grace Nigeria with violence-free elections and bless Nigerians with God-fearing and responsible leaders at all levels of governance to lift the country to higher levels of prosperity and faster paces of development.