‘Stop Hate-Speeches On Social Media’
AFTER an early morning mass at the Our Lady of Queen Angels Catholic Church in Edim Etop, Calabar, men and women, boys and girls, took to the streets with placards in a peaceful demonstration reading, “Nigerians are ready for peaceful elections, a vote for the conscience is a vote for peace, no more verbal terrorism in politics, we want issues based politics.”
The Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria/Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) Rev. Father Evaristus Bassey, who led the demonstration spoke with The Guardian on the issue of violence as the nation prepares for its general election next month.
Bassey warned Nigerians to desist from acts of violence saying “this is a call to all Nigerians to take back Nigeria from politicians who want to destroy this country. This country is bigger than politicians. As citizens, we should determine the faith of politicians and not politicians determining our faith.
“If you listen to the kind of statements politicians make, it seems to me people are so intent on clinging to power or taking over power to the extent that they do not care for the peace of this nation or the welfare of e common citizen. This demonstration is a step just to show that Nigerians will not sit back and see politicians destroy this country. We shall take over this country as citizens, because this country belongs to all of us. Politicians should go about their exploits, without disturbing the peace of the ordinary citizens. The ordinary citizens will not sit back and watch our country destroyed by desperate power mongers.
“At last, we have crossed into 2015- the year that could be named as the Year of Apprehension, going by the varied predictions and projections about Nigeria. The security challenges, the coming elections and the dwindling economy make 2015 a contentious year. Yet we can overcome these challenges as a nation.
“The greatest tragedy of exploitation that we experience in Nigeria today is the rape of the treasury by politicians and high class civil servants and the attendant breakdown of national unity as collateral damage; the selfishness of politicians, in their mad quest to amass the resources of this country through a desperate opportunism bestowed by power, like a bulldozer, brings down everything in its wake, even if it is the balkanization of a country we love to condemn,yet still cherish as home. The primary motivation for political office in Nigeria remains primitive personal amassment of national resources and never service to the people. This must stop. Nigerian citizens are encouraged to publicly embarrass any politician who wants to use them as instruments of violence and we should go out en masse and vote, otherwise it gives room for politicians to thump print ballot papers. We should wait outside the perimeter and witness the public counting of votes at our polling units and keep a record of the results
“We should punish the two main opposing parties and vote for credible individuals in lesser known parties, especially at the presidential elections, as the two main opposing parties are ready to burn down this nation if neither of them wins the presidential election. We should stop hate-speeches in the social media and everywhere, and work and pray for the peace of Nigeria”.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us, and the citizens should determine the fate of politicians rather than allowing them to determine our fate. Let us pray and at least resolve as citizens that we shall not contribute in any way towards the realisation of the negative predictions about our country. This peaceful procession is an indication that we as citizens are ready to stand up for the peace and unity of our country”.
Similarly, the National Association Seadogs on Wednesday organised a workshop to sensitize the electorates on security issues, how to avoid violence and others.
NAS noted that one way to check violence and ensure a free and fair election is for the people to participate positively. Hence, the association urged traditional rulers and other stakeholders in Cross River State to mount pressure on registered voters to collect their Permanent Voters Card before the end of January so as to participate in the February general elections.
The association said the mobilisation became imperative following a huge number of registered voters that are yet to collect their PVCs nationwide.
Guest speaker at the workshop tagged “Citizens Summit” organised by the Calabar Municipal branch of NAS, Mr. Tony-Ray Ene, explained that with the PVC, the electorate have the absolute choice to elect their leaders in the next general elections without violence or bribery.
He called on all registered voters to ensure that they voted according to their conscience in the general elections, adding, however, that this would only be achieved if registered voters collected their PVCs.