Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to maintain fairness in its conduct of the forthcoming polls to all parties contesting.
He made this call at the peace conference organised by his foundation in Abuja, on Thursday, stressing that partisanship will breed crises.
“If people feel INEC and similar bodies are fair to all, it will make citizens behave better but if you do otherwise, it will be a recipe for crisis,” he said at the event tagged: ‘Peaceful elections and national development’, the ex-president was quoted.
He also admonished politicians to be more interested on how to improve the quality of lives, and not in any form of “impositions”.
The former president said the foundation’s position is that Nigerians should avoid actions that may lead to conflicts, especially in the election season.
“We are convinced that any one, either in government or outside government, who truly loves Nigeria will not want to play the role of the villain by lending his support to any action that instigates crises,” he said.
“As the ongoing democratic process unfolds, with the rest of the world watching with keen interest, we are also mindful of the worries of Nigerians on whether it would end peacefully.
“Our political leaders must realise that the greatest and most enduring legacy to leave behind is that of ‘peace and development’.”
He also said when politicians resort to “desperate measures” in the bid to occupy political positions, they run the risk of plunging their countries into serious crises “that often lead to loss of lives, degradation of values as well as destruction of private and public assets.”
“These breed of politicians often ignore the fact that to be patriotic is to love your country and be prepared to live and die for her honour, reputation, freedom, progress and the ascendancy of the common good,” Jonathan said.
“You can restore destroyed infrastructure almost to its former state or even better, but you cannot easily repair people’s psyche, reconcile aggrieved persons and restore hope in a nation, once they are damaged in destructive leadership struggles.”