A former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, has said that he will forever be an enemy of anyone who tries to hinder the democratic development of Nigeria or plunge the country into crisis.
Abdulsalami said this at the maiden edition of General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Peace Lecture, organised by the staff and students of the Abdulsalami Abubakar Post Graduate Students’ Hall of the University of Ibadan.
In the lecture titled: “Collaborative Peace Building in Nigeria”, he cautioned politicians against disrupting the 2019 general election, saying “we have no other place to run to should the country be engulfed by fire”.
Speaking further, the former head of state said that Nigeria cannot be that great nation we all want, except we all agree to collectively work together and collaborate on peace. He said that:
“Peace is not absence of disagreement. Every society must have disagreements. This is because we are not born alike, even twins do not operate in a like manner, hence there is nothing wrong with people having disagreements.
“What is expected is that when we have disagreements we would find peaceful solutions to the issues.
He went on to argue that there can be no sustainable development where people find it difficult to deal with the problems around them peacefully.
“It is therefore, my honest opinion that we are going nowhere until we have a national consensus to work for peace.
“What our politicians should focus upon at a time like this is to be working with professionals on how to make a difference in 2019
“No matter how good those managing INEC are, if things are not well managed as they are, it might be difficult for us to have credible elections in 2019”.
The former head of state advised the students to reject being used in the forthcoming elections and not be allowed to be dragged into electoral malfeasance and violence.
He also appealed to politicians to be more conciliatory in their relationship and public utterances.
“INEC must be an unbiased umpire. The security agencies in the country must be fair to all, people must be free to vote their leaders”.
Also speaking the vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Idowu Olayinka, praised the former head of state, saying that “it is very rare for a military head of state to say he has to grant the wishes of the people for a democratic government.
“This is the kind of things we need in Nigeria for our leaders to forge peace in the country”.
The former head of state was presented a peace award, while a cafeteria was built in his honour.
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