Nigerians have been called upon to eschew violence and embrace peace as they go to the polls to choose the next batch of political leaders in the 2019 general elections.

This was a unanimous position taken by speakers at a stakeholder’s dialogue for peaceful and violence free 2019 general elections, organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with the National Stakeholders Committee for Peaceful Elections, held at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja-FCT on Monday, January 21, 2019.

Speaking at the event, former Director-General, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Professor Tonnie Iredia, OON who described peace as the most important element of life called on Nigerians to imbibe the principles of peace, if we must move forward as a country.

He however, lamented the poor attitude of our leaders to issues that matter most, saying most of the personalities present at the forum were representatives of their principals. In his words “Nothing else is more important than peace and if peace is the most important element of life, everybody should take it seriously. I honestly do not understand why when it comes to matters of peace, almost every person invited is represented. Those who should make sure that this peace is attained are not here so we are going to be talking to their representatives”.

Iredia who further called on NOA to extend invitations to politicians and political parties as participants at such sensitization programmes, accused the politicians of being responsible for violence during elections, saying if we must have peace in the 2019 election, they must be addressed and reoriented.

Similarly speaking, the Chief of Defence Staff, General AG Olonisakin who was represented by the Defence Spokesperson, Major-General Leo Irabor, said political leaders in the country must be made to understand that the voice of peace is louder than the noise of violence.

He maintained that 2019 general elections provide a unique opportunity for us to choose our political leaders and if our prayers and aspirations to have a developed economy must come to pass; it behoves on citizens to do what is right by living up to their civic responsibilities.

He further expressed commitment of the Nigerian Army to the electoral process by providing the ambience for the conduct of a free, fair and credible election and also give the Nigeria Police and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the needed support as required by the provisions of the constitution.

Dignitaries present at the stakeholders meeting were the Honourable Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu; Representative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. David Genger; Acting Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr. Louis Eriomala; representative of the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), Mohammed Haruna, Representative of the Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mr. Emeka Edwin; representative of the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Aisha El-Mustapha; representative of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alh. Saleh Alhassan; and representative of the Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Mrs. Victoria Abodurin among others.

Caleb Nor

Media Asst.-Ag. ES