Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked presidential candidates of the various political parties and their supporters to shun violence and bad politicking ahead of the 2023 elections.
Mr Jonathan said this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the schedule of INEC activities, all political parties are expected to end their primaries on June 9.
The commission has also set July 17 as deadline for the uploading of names of presidential candidates by all parties on its portal.
PREMIUM TIMES could not confirm if all parties have elected their presidential candidates at the time of this report.
Mr Jonathan, in his congratulatory statement, acknowledged the democratic exercise that produced Atiku Abubakar of PDP, Bola Tinubu of APC, Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP), Rabiu Kwankwaso of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), and Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The emergence of Malik Ado-Ibrahim of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Dan Nwanyanwu of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Dumebi Kachikwu of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) were also noted.
He said their victory at the end of the primaries has shown their “belief and interest in the progress of our nation.”
Of all the presidential candidates noted by Mr Jonathan, only Mr Kwankwaso emerged unopposed as other candidates went through keenly contested electoral processes.
While congratulating the candidates on their emergence, Mr Jonathan urged them to make the nation’s array of challenges the centre of their campaign.
“As you progress towards the electioneering campaigns, it is important that the issues confronting the country and credible solutions take centre stage.
“I 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,” Mr Jonathan said.
The former president praised party aspirants who lost out of the contest but remained committed to Nigeria’s democratic principles.
He described the 2023 general elections as another opportunity to “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,” he said in his statement.
Mr Jonathan’s acceptance òf defeat in 2015 has continuously been praised by Nigerians and the international community.
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