By EMMANUEL AFONNE
ABUJA- The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has condemned the attacks of political parties at various campaign rallies in preparation for the 2023 general election.
Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, President of NIPR, who condemned the attacks at the WAZOBIA 2022 Virtual Summit organised by AfricaFora in partnership with the NIPR noted that the attacks were in three dimensions.
The theme of the summit is “Preparing the 2023 Elections.”
Sirajo said physical attacks, throwing of stones at rallies and verbal attacks by unskilled spokesmen across board have held sway at most political campaigns.
The NIPR boss who doubled as the chairman of the summit said the situation had become worrisome and source of concern to the Institute.
Sirajo said that the recent happenings had violated the peace accord signed by political parties.
“This election must become a cutting edge for our nation. We have to make that happen,” he said.
Sirajo called for the introduction of the concept of “non-violent communication” in our national system and culture based on principles of universal truth.
The NIPR boss noted that the institute would pay greater attention to issues of credibility of electoral processes and security of votes at the forthcoming elections.
“Elections all over the world are a key element in democratic governance; however, how it is prepared, conducted, and managed determines the extent of its usefulness.
“Unfortunately, in most cases, especially in our clime, much attention is placed on the polls and the outcomes, against the processes that culminate into the voting on the election day.
“From the recent happenings on the political scene in Nigeria, the echoes of power have again overshadowed the voice of good governance.
“As we look up to the 2023 elections in Nigeria, we must ask ourselves some pertinent questions – What do these elections truly mean to us – as the electorate, candidates, umpires, observers, etc.? What exactly propels the aspirants of political parties?
“Is it love of power or sacrifice of leadership? Do we see this election as a very important matter of nation building, or is it yet another round of rituals that must happen every four years as the Olympic games?
“What do we plan to get out of it? Are we in it to promote one of our own from our religion, tribe, sex, group? Or is it about the need to reinvent our nationhood?
“Our genuine answers to these fundamental questions would determine what we seek to get out of the elections and detemine whether it will work for both the citizens and the nation,” Sirajo said.
He noted that at 62 and with immense resources God has bestowed Nigeria with both material and human, the country ought to have been a great nation.
He assured that the institute and its 90 partner-organisations would ensure that the fundamental issues of nation building were addressed.
Also speaking, the keynote speaker, Rev. Ladi Thompson, said the country must rediscover its existence from its ancient history to move forward.
Thompson said Nigerians must do away with the North and South divide and give attention to critical thinking, effective communication and also believe that leadership cannot do everything.
He regretted that poverty had been weaponised, as hierarchy of means determined the level of infrastracture in the country.
“We must begin to value human lives and manage our assets well; we must eschew the culture for violence,” he said.
Dr Ike Neliaku, Member in Council, NIPR, said Nigerians should not choose candidates in the 2023 gbeaded election based on corrupt mindset as it would spell doom for the country.
Neliaku noted that youths were already changing the narrative but needed to be properly guided to avoid plunging the nation into chaos.
He said that nation building and political stability must focus on three key areas involving the citizens, INEC and the leaders.
“Let us build the citizen; that is why it is called the citizens summit.
“If we build the citizens and they are enlightened, there mindset changes and they will begin to ask the right questions, do the right things and then, we will be rethinking the process together.
“So, it is a three leg thing involving the citizens, the electoral commission and those who are currently in the position of authority as leaders at different levels”. (NAN)