Political pundits observe that the recent special message of the United States (U.S.) President Barrack Obama’s to Nigeria, among other world leaders’ on the general elections, leaves much to be desired.
They recall that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has also spoken with President Goodluck Jonathan and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari — the two major presidential candidates in the election on the need for peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.
Similarly, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the African Union, the European Union, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former South African President Thabo Mbeki, among others, have shown interests in the elections.
Political analysts note that the interests of the world leaders in the elections underscore the strategic position of Nigeria in the world politics.
They stress the belief that the success of the elections has great implications on Africa and the world.
For instance, Obama, in his special message broadcast to Nigerians recently said that “Nigeria is a great nation. By casting your ballot, you can help secure your nation’s progress.
“Today, I urge all Nigerians — from all religions, all ethnic groups and all regions — to come together and keep Nigeria one.
“And in this task of advancing the security, prosperity and human rights of all Nigerians, you will continue to have a friend and partner in the United States of America.
“You’ve worked hard to improve the lives of your families and to build the largest economy in Africa,’’ he said.
Corroborating this viewpoint, Ban, in his message to Nigerians, said Nigeria was too important for Africa and the world.
“Of course, we always want to draw attention to the fact that the whole world; the eyes of the world are on Nigeria because of what country Nigeria is.
“Nigeria is the pre-eminent country in Africa, economically is the biggest economy; Nigeria is both on the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council.
“These are the bodies charged with ensuring peace and security in Africa and in the world. So that is why we cannot afford to see Nigeria slip into any political crisis.
“Nigeria constitutes more than half of the population of West Africa. In terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Nigeria constitutes 80 per cent of the regional GDP.
“Many of the countries in the sub-region, economically, depend on Nigeria. On the continent, Nigeria is a leading economy and a natural leader,’’ he said.
In his view, Ghanaian President John Mahama, observed that Nigeria was cardinal to the ECOWAS region because the country’s safety and security would guarantee safety and security in the commission.
“Nigeria is a very important member of ECOWAS, the largest economy, the largest nation in the ECOWAS region, so Nigeria’s safety and security is the safety of and security of the whole of ECOWAS region,’’ he said.
Political analysts, therefore, conclude that the solidarity of the international community for Nigeria’s election is to ensure that the country, the sub-region and the region is stable.
They cited the visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Nigeria few weeks to the former Feb.14 presidential election date as one of the instruments for peace process during and after the elections.
They also observe that U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle has been moving across the country ahead of the elections to broker peace accords and preach non-violence elections.
In the same vein, the international community has continued to applaud the Abuja Peace Accord signed by all the Presidential candidates on Jan. 14 in Abuja as a strategy to achieve non-violent elections.
In his opinion, Canadan Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson urged Nigeria to take all necessary steps to ensure that the elections were peaceful, free, fair and credible.
“These elections are critical to reinforcing democracy in Nigeria and offer a valuable opportunity for Nigeria to set a positive example of democratic elections in Africa,’’ he said.
Warning against violence during and after the elections, a Rwandan, Mr Seth Karamage, urged Nigerians to learn from the experience of Rwanda.
He said a crisis of one nation could never be the crisis of just that single nation but other nations around it.
Karamage, a conflict and peace consultant with the Inter-Faith Mediation Centre in Kaduna, said the Rwandan crisis had negatively affected the neighbouring countries, which were destabilised.
“I always say that Nigeria is the China of Africa, meaning that Nigeria is the country that has the biggest human resource on the continent of Africa.
“If Nigeria is destabilized, Rwanda will be destabilised. So Nigeria is the power of Africa; everybody should stand up to make sure that nothing destabilizes this country.
“Rwanda is just a small country with 11 million people but the crisis that happened in Rwanda affected the whole region.
“So every leader, whether you are national or international, let us make sure that we prevent the outbreak of violence in Nigeria,’’ Karamage advised.
He also urged the media not to allow it to be used, observing that “the media in Rwanda was used to instigate people to wake up and kill the cockroaches.’’
All in all, observer note that the world leaders are watching Nigeria’s elections which they believe will be peaceful, free, fair and credible to boost the country’s image in the eyes of the world.(NAN Features)

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