The President of the Midwest Movement, Dr Pedro Obaseki,has urged presidential candidates in the 2019 elections to exibit the spirit of good sportmanship to deepen democracy.
He gave advice in an interview with with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Lagos.
According to to him, presidential candidates that will not secure people’s mandate to be the presidentb of Nigeria should emulate former president Goodluck Jonathan in conceding defeat.
NAN reports that Jonathan conceded defeat to the candidate of the All Progressives Party, (APC) President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential elections.
This he did by placing a phone call to congratulate him, even before INEC declared final results of the election.
Obaseki, a cousin to Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, also called on political gladiators not ignite the country after elections’ results would have been declared.
“Jonathan’s effort prevented break down of law and order as well as violence and breaking up of the country earlier predicted,” obaseki said.
“If Jonathan had not made that phone call to Buhari, Nigeria would been thrown into a great destabilising environment of great proportion which would have put in jeopardy the cohesive unity of this country.
“I want to advise any of them that, when they are convinced or even when they are not convinced, when one seems to lose, he should simply do the Jonathan’s call and save this country.
” This is surprising because the acidity of the environment is more than it was in 2015.
“There must be proper management of the contestants and their followers, so that they don’t ignite this country. Nigeria is bigger than amy candidate.”
Obaseki is a veteran film producer and broadcaster.
Obaseki, also former Financial Secretary of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) noted that the electorate had their PVCs as their power to choose their leaders.
“I am not one of those who say their votes will not count. For you not to go out on election day to vote is bad when you are of voting age and has your PVC with you.
“Lagos is worse in voting culture, the turnout of voters in 2015 elections was 25.9 per cent, that is 75 out of 100 voters in Lagos saw the election days as holidays.
“So, if you don’t partake in the process, what you end up doing is putting vagabonds in power and they will make a law that will be borne by all.”
According to him, voting is a civic duty and a responsibility, adding that there must be a continuous voter education lower the rate of voter apathy in the country.
“We must understand that the voter is singularly most important factor in the electoral process, not the man being voted for.
‘”Those who vote for financial inducement are selling their birthright for a period of four years.
“The voter is a critical part in election. The present INEC must increase the level of voter education, it must not fail.
“The degree of voter education during the 2015 election was huge. INEC must not only be fair, but must be seen to be fair.”
Obaseki, a gubernatorial candidate of the Accord Party in Edo in 2016 said “the future of Nigeria rests with INEC’s performance.”
He said that the transparency level of INEC must be above board to make sure that Nigerian’s corporate aspirations were not whisked away.
NAN reports that almost all the presidential candidates of various political parties have subscribed and signed the peace accord championed by the National Peace Committee. (NAN)