Just few weeks after there were reports that the UN, EU,US had issued warnings regarding the 2019 elections. Today again, the United Nation has advised stakeholders in the forthcoming general elections to avoid messages of hate, politics of acrimony, bitterness and rancour to avoid undermining the peace and stability of Nigeria.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who is the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) gave the advice in Abuja on Saturday at a one-day national sensitization workshop on Broadcast Media Coverage of the 2019 General Elections.
According to NAN, the workshop was organised by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) with the theme: “Fake News, Hate Speech, Vote and PVC Buying”.
Chambas, represented by Dr Zebulon Takwa, Peace and Development Advisor, Resident Coordinator’s Office, harped on the need for all Nigerian stakeholders to eschew any form of discourse that could ignite tension and violence during the election.
He urged that all candidates and political parties be given a level playing field and treated with respect and fairness, saying that UN was looking forward to Nigeria’s 2019 elections with realistic optimism, NAN reports.
The envoy also urged the stakeholders to double their efforts in ensuring issue-based elections that would make Nigeria to succeed.
He expressed hope that the country would overcome its challenges.
“I hope that Nigeria continues to set the pace in establishing the positive tradition that, as leaders, access to power or quest to retain or consolidate it, must never be stained with blood of any Nigerian.
“Nigeria occupies a strategic position in West Africa, the African continent and indeed, globally.
“It is, therefore, crucial that Nigeria delivers credible, peaceful and fair elections in 2019, in a manner that improves upon the performance of 2015 elections.
“Nigeria, as the `big brother`, has played a critical role in stabilising many parts of Africa and consolidating their democracy; therefore, Africa is looking up to you for leadership.
“I have equally expressed my concern that fewer women and youth candidates have been fielded by political parties than expected of Nigeria with a large number of women voters and enthusiastic youths, who are eager to take part in nation-building as responsible leaders,” he said.
Chambas assured Nigeria of the commitment of UN to contributing towards violence-free and hitch-free elections that would symbolise global best practices.
“The United Nations is committed to assisting with any measure that will enhance popular confidence in the electoral process,” he said.