Nigeria’s former minister of external affairs, Bolaji Akinyemi, on Sunday expressed worries over the forthcoming elections, stating that, “not even the riotous 1965 elections filled me with so much dread”.
The 1965 elections were held in the areas in the south that boycotted the 1964 parliamentary elections and the violence that followed led to the death of over 2000 lives people in the western region.
It was the prelude to the fall of the first republic.
In a statement made available to Newsmen, Akinyemi appealed to political leaders and their supporters to shun violence, hate speeches and be committed to ensuring credible elections.
He said, “Since I have been monitoring elections in Nigeria, I cannot remember any elections that filled me with so much dread and trepidation as these forthcoming elections. Not even the riotous 1965 Federal elections. And we all know what that led to.”
“As a scholar in international relations, I cannot but bring to the attention of Nigerians the significance of the latest development in Venezuela where the international community under the United States has accorded recognition to the opposition leader as the alternative President as their reaction to what it perceives as a flawed election.
“This is promoting regime change by another route. This is the beginning not the end of the Venezuelan nightmare. Nigeria should, by all means, avoid a repetition of the Venezuelan nightmare in Nigeria.
“Therefore I appeal to the political leaders to call on their supporters to eschew violence and any undemocratic behaviour during these elections. We should avoid hate speech not just know but in our political system.
“Political leaders should commit themselves publicly and loudly to free, fair and transparent elections.
“This is the time for our leaders to commit themselves and their supporters to accepting the result of the elections if the results reflect the true wishes and intentions of the voters.
“In case the elections are not free, fair and transparent, the loser should commit himself to using the tribunals and courts for redress, even though the judicial system is imperfect and under stress now.
“Above all, there should be no recourse to violence whatever the provocation.”