By Goodluck Jonathan
I congratulate the winners of the various primaries across the political spectrum, particularly Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who has won the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the flagbearers of other parties that have also concluded their primaries.
They include Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Malik Ado-Ibrahim, Young Progressives Party (YPP), Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Dumebi Kachikwu, African Democratic Congress (ADC) as well as Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP.
Your emergence as the flagbearers of your parties after submitting yourselves to rigorous selection and election processes demonstrates your belief and interest in the progress of our nation.
I consider you are all aspiring to be elected as the leader of the country because you are democrats who believe, like the rest of us, that Nigeria is our common heritage which we should all strive to protect, prosper and preserve for the future generation.
As you progress towards the electioneering campaigns, it is important that the issues confronting the country and credible solutions take centre stage.
KI urge you to conduct your campaigns in a manner devoid of acrimony, divisiveness and treachery so that at the end of the day Nigeria will win, democracy will triumph and humanity will be better for it.
As I have always said, no ambition is worth the life of another. As candidates, you must eschew violence and acts that will encourage any form of bloodletting or exacerbate the national fault lines.
We live in a season of unprecedented violence and all political leaders have a responsibility to de-escalate the tension in the country.
The candidates by conduct and language must prioritise non-violence and peaceful coexistence.
I also salute the sportsmanship displayed by other aspirants who have continued to lend their weight to the democratic process, despite the fact that they did not emerge victorious in their various party primaries.
I urge all stakeholders to place national interest above personal interest. We must commit to upholding virtues that will sustain our democracy and advance the cause of good governance, peace and sustainable development.
Nigeria is at a critical junction in its march to nationhood as it grapples with security and economic challenges.
The 2023 elections present an opportunity to renew our union, rebuild the dreams of our founding fathers and revitalise our economy.
The importance of this election imposes on the election managers and security agencies a historic burden to continue deepening the reforms of our electoral system.
A transparent election will go a long way to increase the confidence of Nigerians in our democracy and restore trust in our public institutions.
We can attain our national aspirations of unity, peace, and progress through the instrumentality of a functional and effective democracy.
I urge all leaders, especially politicians, to prioritize the peace and stability of our nation as we commence the activities of 2023 elections.
To the good citizens of our beloved country, I charge you all, particularly the youth, to make honest and patriotic choices that will guarantee us the hope that we desire for ourselves and our nation.
@views exclusive rights: Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Former President of Nigeria, June 9, 2022.