A former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), on Monday in Abuja held a series of meetings with Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, warning that the 2011 post-election violence should not be allowed to repeat itself.
He spoke in his capacity as Chairman of National Peace Committee on 2015 Elections, which was convened by the Founder of the Kukah Centre for Faith and Leadership Research and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah.
The committee is aimed at ensuring full compliance with the Abuja peace accord signed by President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party and his closest rival in the February 14 presidential election, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) of All Progressives Congress.
The meeting also had in attendance representatives of various political parties and religious leaders.
Apart from Abubakar, other members of the Committee include foremost entrepreneur, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, John Cardinal Onaiyekan; Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar; Alhaji Muhammad Musdafa, Primate of Anglican Church, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh; President of Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and Justice Rose Ukeje.
Others are Prof. 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; Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah; and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dame Priscilla Kuye.
In his remarks, the former Head of State 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 February elections are peaceful and secure.
“When I was approached to chair this committee, I did not hesitate. Since I left office, I have been involved in a lot of engagements in Nigeria and across Africa. If you go to many African countries, you will see the kind of carnage going on as a result of post-election violence. We must live in peace. Whenever there is election violence, people blame politicians.
“But the people are the ones inflicting violence on themselves. If we destroy property and other things, we will still have to come back and rebuild what we have destroyed.
“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 have 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”.