Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar met with service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, stating that the 2015 polls should be devoid of the post-electoral violence that trailed the 2011 election.
Abubakar was speaking a meeting of the National Peace Committee on 2015 Elections put together by Bishop Mathew Kukah, Founder of the Kukah Centre for Faith and Leadership Research in order to attain full compliance with Abuja Accord to ensure electoral non-violence.
The meeting also had notable citizens as members as well as religious and political leaders in attenders.
Members of the committee include Aliko Dangote; Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.), Cardinal John Onaiyekan; Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, Alhaji Muhammad Musdafa; Primate of Anglican Church, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh; President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejaform, Justice Rose Ukejem Ibrahim Gambari, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the 2014 National Conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi; Prof. Ameze Guobadia, Prof. Zainab Alkali, Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Pemu-Amuka; former President of Nigerian Bar Association, Dame Priscilla Kuye and the convener, Bishop Kukah.
In his address, Abubakar said: “Any Nigerian who loves this country must preach peace. There is apprehension and there is no need for that. Nigerians, please, I beg you, learn from the former mistakes. We must ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.
“We must ensure that the February elections are peaceful and secure.
“… I am very happy that the contestants in the forthcoming Presidential elections have signed a peace accord and I expect that they follow up in keeping up with this agreement.
“We all have roles to play. The media has a role to play in ensuring that they preach peace. People tend to believe in what they read. Avoid sensational stories and help preach peace to our people.”
Also speaking at the meeting were Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosun, Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh and Chief of Army Staff General Kenneth Minimah.
Chief of Air Staff, Amosun said; “We have commenced the airlift of the materials needed for the elections starting from Abuja, we will continue with the elections. The whole spectrum of the elections would be involved. It was logistics problems that made us to postpone the election four years ago, it is not going to happen again, we are already ahead of the game.
“We have a lot of unmanned airports in Nigeria, we have already deployed our men, we are going to man those airports. So, should we have saboteurs planning to use any of those airfields, it will be difficult for them. We are going to block all those unmanned airfields. We have already deployed and set up our soldiers to man those airfields. Those are the areas we may have linkages, the airport security, we are already ahead of the game to man the airfields to stop those that will want to bring in illegal materials into the country.”
Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh in his address said: “We are not directly involved in elections and electioneering but before the elections, we deploy will our personnel across the nation to assist civil powers and authority. During the elections, as we have done in other states, we also ensure that people are not used to go and cause trouble or mayhem after the elections and should there be any disturbances, we will assist the police. The military will deploy as much as we can across the nation. Even though we are busy in the north east, we also have capability across the nation.”
Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah on his part said: “We are aware of the need for security before, during and after the elections. We will deploy across the states of the federation, in areas we discover that have capacity for violence. We are prepared to ensure we have a peaceful election. I appeal to politicians to obey the rules of the game and advise their followers to respect the laws of the land. As stipulated in the Electoral Act and the Constitution, no individual or groups should take the laws into their hands. We want the nation to have peace after this election.”