The Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has asked Nigerians to hold President Muhammadu Buhari to his words on the conduct of a free, fair, credible and violence-free general elections in 2019.
He also called on Nigerians not to be used by politicians and other stakeholders to cause violence especially during the forthcoming polls and beyond.
The monarch stated these in Abuja on Saturday, during the Nigeria Interreligious Council (Youth Wing) second national summit with the theme, ‘Towards peaceful contributions of Christian and Muslim Youth in 2019 general elections in Nigeria’.
Buhari was said to have expressed commitment to a free, fair and violence-free polls in 2019 at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, while delivering a keynote address at the 20th anniversary of the ICC presided over by a Nigerian, Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji.
While calling on Nigerians to hold the President to his words to ensure violence-free elections, the Sultan said the second summit came at the time when Nigeria had been polarised by the political class.
According to him, there is the need for Nigerians to work together as a family, irrespective of their differing religious interests.
“The youth must not allow themselves to be used by politicians to instigate violence of any kind. And since the President has spoken on the conduct of the coming elections to be credible and free, he should be held accountable to his words,” the Sultan said.
At the event, the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen Babagana Monguno, (retd.), who was represented by Brig.-Gen Emmanuel Ndagi, said peaceful dialogue was the pathway to peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
Monguno said security remained a collective responsibility, adding that Nigerians should stay peaceful.
He urged the youth to ensure that Nigeria achieved peaceful elections since Buhari had expressed commitment to a free, fair, peaceful and credible election in 2019.
The NSA, however, added that the Federal Government, religious leaders, politicians as well as youths, had critical roles to play in preventing the use of social media to propagate fake news, hate speech and other acts capable of instigating violence.
Deputy Chief of Mission, United States Embassy in Nigeria, David Young, said the US was committed to supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission to achieving credible elections in Nigeria.
He commended NIREC for its programmes to mobilise Nigerian youths towards peaceful 2019 general elections.
Young advised that Nigerian youths should practise their faith and put it into action by loving God and their neighbours with all their hearts, adding that “for faith without works is dead.”
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who was represented by the Assistant IGP, Raheed Akintunde, stated that government was working assiduously towards the success of the forthcoming elections.
He vowed that both potential vote buyers and sellers would be dealt with without fear or favour.
President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, said Nigerian youths should work together irrespective of the differences in their doctrines.
“We should use our different religions to move the country forward,” he added.
He urged the youth to emulate the partnership between the NSCIA and CAN.
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