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Nigeria 2015 Polls: Council Charges Stakeholders on Peaceful Election
Few days to the 2015 national elections, some eminent Nigerians under the aegis of the Savannah Centre ‘Council of the Wise’ Project have urged all electoral stakeholders to embrace peace and shun selfish agenda in order to ensure free, fair and credible polls which will enhance Nigeria’s democracy and development.
Addressing newsmen recently in Lagos, the coordinator of the Council, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Nigeria’s former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Founder of the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, stated that the responsibility of delivering free, fair and transparent polls lies with all stakeholders.
‘Everyone will be a looser if there are no credible, free and fair elections. INEC alone cannot guarantee free and fair elections. They are just the referee, so everyone has a role to play’.
Gambari charged the media to live up its expectation of upholding public truth and social justice.
“One of the things we are particular about is the avoidance of hate speeches and incitement. And that is why the role of the media in the run up to the election is very critical. The media should not allow themselves to be used for destabilization and to provoke violence. ’
“The role of the media is to get candidates to address issues and not to promote hate speech of any kind,” he said.
Another member of the Council, Professor George Obiozor, stressed that the conduct of peaceful and transparent polls will enhance Nigeria’s democracy and development while earning the country more respect in the global community.
“A peaceful election is in everybody’s interest. For the politician, it is important that the election is credible, for citizens, it is important that it is legitimate, free and fair; and for the nation, it promotes dignity development.”
In achieving its mandate of promoting peaceful polls, the Council of the Wise has held series of consultations with major electoral stakeholders across the country including: Former Presidents OlusegunObasanjo and ShehuShagari; Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba; National Security Adviser, SamboDasuki; INEC Chairman, Professor AttahiruJega; State Governors: Mu'azuBabangidaAliyu of Niger, AliyuWamakko of Sokoto, RabiuKwankwaso of Kano; BabatundeFashola, SAN, Lagos; Traditional Rulers: Sultan of Sokoto, AlhajiSa'adAbubakar; Emir of Kano, SanusiLamidoSanusi, Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji (Dr) MuhammaduBarkindo, Oba of Lagos, RilwanAkinolu.
The ‘Council of the Wise’ Panel on the 2015 General Elections is a 9-person committee of eminent Nigerians constituted by the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, with representation across various sectors and the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The Council is chaired by the Former Chief Justice of the Nigeria, Honourable Justice Mohammed LawalUwais with Professor Ibrahim Gambari, CFR as the Principal Coordinator. Other members of the Council include: Veteran Actress and Movie Director, Ms. Joke Silva, MFR, AFormer Grand Qadi of Niger State, Sheikh Dr. Ahmed AbubakarLemu; Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna, Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon; ; Former Assistant Secretary-General for Administration and Finance of the Organisation of African Unity, Ambassador BrownsonDede; Former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Professor George Obiozor; Former United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General, Professor AgwuOkali, and Chairperson, Presidential Committee on the Security Challenges in the North East, Ambassador UsmanGajiGaltimari.