The United Nations (UN), ahead of the forthcoming February 16 general election, has advised Nigerian politicians to avoid messages of hate, politics of acrimony, bitterness and rancor.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, a special representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), on Saturday in Abuja said that politicians must avoid any incitement that would undermine the peace and stability of Nigeria.
The UN advice came during a one day national sensitization workshop on Broadcast Media Coverage of the 2019 General Elections titled “Fake News, Hate Speech, Vote and PVC Buying”, which was organized by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The UN special representative who was represented by Zebulon Takwa, the Peace and Development Advisor, Resident Coordinator’s Office, noted that any form of discourse that could ignite tension and violence must be eschewed.
“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,” Takwa said on behalf of Mr. Chambas.
He further noted that the UN is looking forward to the forthcoming elections with realistic optimism.
“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.
“The United Nations is committed to assisting with any measure that will enhance popular confidence in the electoral process,” he added.