The United Nations has advised that Nigeria must get it right with the 2023 general elections as the country must not fail.
The global organisation also stated that the only path for a nation to succeed was through sustainable development which it had been advocating.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General and chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, Amina Mohammed, stated these in a keynote speech she presented at the Nigerian Bar Association state of the national dialogue, with the theme, ‘Security, economy and administration of justice.’
Meanwhile, only three, out of the 18 presidential candidates turned up for the event.
They are Peter Umeadi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance; Major Hamza Al-Mustapha Hamza of the Action Alliance and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress.
“As Africa’s leading economy, with the biggest port of views, and security anchor for our neighbours, Nigeria cannot simply afford to fail”, Mohammed said and reminded the judiciary that as members of the Bar, “You have a key role to play to advance the country’s aspiration towards 2023 general elections.”
READ MORE: 2023 Election: FG Backs US Visa Ban On Nigerians Undermining Democracy
Mohammed said that the UN would support any process that would lead to credible, all-inclusive, free and fair general elections.
“The UN is committed to accompanying Nigeria on this journey”, she said.
Mohammed also expressed the optimism that “things will be turned around to a more inclusive, equal and just society where we will embrace the best of our traditions with open minds and build trust that will allow us to build a better future together.”
The UN top official said that the increase in the number of registered voters from 84 million to 93 million was encouraging, adding that it had suggested that Nigerians were enthusiastic about the electoral process.
She slammed politicians and candidates engaging themselves in politics of bitterness, rancour and acrimony.
“However, we have continued to witness attacks on institutions, fake news, hate speech, a spate of religious and ethnic identities, conditions as well as attacks on INEC facilities since the political campaigns began,” Mohammed lamented.
She, therefore, appealed to the judiciary to brace up and remain an impartial arbiter.
“In this context, the report of this forum cannot be underestimated. The judiciary will be called upon to discuss and manage potential conflict or tension that may arise as a result of the elections.
“As such the judiciary is urged to remain impartial and avoid activities that will undermine it to fulfil its role as assigned by the constitution,” the UN Deputy Scribe said.
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), appealed to members of the legal profession to quit using their legal skills and knowledge only for remuneration.
He said, “While remuneration for the services we render is good, we must not make it the primary motivation for the work we do; we must be primarily motivated by the cause of the people.
“That is the path for national development. We have, in this maiden state of the national dialogue, chosen three thematic areas of security, economy and administration of justice. We will, using our carefully selected keynote speaker and panellists on the three subjects, set the tone for the nation from the perspective of the NBA.
“We have invited all the presidential candidates to participate in this conversation in the hope that whoever wins the election, we would have a basis to further engage and hold government accountable to the people of Nigeria.
“We shall document the position of the NBA from this dialogue and make the same available to all the presidential candidates. We believe that doing this will also help in re-establishing our leadership position in society, based on our service to the people while ensuring that we protect the legal space and mentor the younger generation in this path of nobility.”
A panellist, Chairman of the Police Service Commission and former Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, said the next President of Nigeria would need a strong political will to reform the force and make it perform its constitutional duties better.
He insisted that the security of life and property was a responsibility of the government and advised the incoming government to consider the deployment of technology in the fight against crime.
Another panellist, Brig-General Abubakar Hanafi Sa’ad, warned against profiling any ethnic group.
“Don’t profile ethnic groups. Not all herdsmen are terrorists,” he said.