By Ere-ebi Agedah
As the 2019 general election draws near, Non-governmental organization under the auspices Presidential summit centre, in collaboration with Forum of Presidential candidates, has stressed the need for all presidential hopefuls to run issues based campaign which will put the interest of the country ahead of personal ambition.
While speaking in Abuja, over the weekend on the theme, Violence free elections, convener of the group Mr Mustapha Auda stated that as a nation, it is possible to conduct a free and fair election if all candidates can adopt a patriotic Nigerian spirit.
According to Audu, the willingness to serve the country, promote peace and development of Nigeria should be upmost in the minds of all candidates, adding that all candidates must work together to achieve unity in the country before, during and after the elections.
Audu who stressed the need for political candidates to run issued based campaign rather than the use of hate speeches which could easily lead to violence among party member, noted that peaceful elections accelerate change in the country.
He however urged all political presidential candidates to focus on methods which will be beneficial in creating jobs, ensuring security, growing business, developing power and water infrastructure, agriculture and education and how as a nation we can empower our women.
Also Speaking on the sidelines of the summit with our correspondent was Presidential flag bearer Democratic People’s Party, DPP Ambassador Felix Johnson Osakwe who noted that presidential candidates must begin to play the role of exemplary leaders.
Osakwe who lamented on the issue of thuggery noted that election violence further divides us as a people which must be avoided in the 2019 election.
“Nigeria is the most populous black nation on earth and we owe it to ourselves to conduct the elections with sincerity and zeal to safeguard our democracy.
“Unfortunately we choose not to realize or understand that Nigeria comes first before any political party and it equally belongs to all of us and not some group of persons or ethnic group.
“When different political parties begin to fight and threaten each other, they begin to forget the entity Nigeria, I believe that if all Nigerians can come together and realize that Nigeria first and not political affiliations, then it will be a lot easy for us to ensure that there is no violence in Nigeria”” he said.
He however added that if elected in to office, the youths will be his priority.
“We are talking about violence and peaceful elections but if we do not bring our youths to the decision table how can we keep them away from violence. If elected into office, I will do everything possible to bring our youths on board, I will ensure that our youths have a say in my administration and I believe this will keep them away from violence” he explained.