Healing the wounds created by hate speeches in electioneering

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By Emmanuel Mogbede

With the over, concerned citizens believe that tangible efforts should be made heal the wounds that were created by the hate speeches of politicians during the campaigns.

They recall that the election period certainly stirred up some issues that created ill feelings among the political class, saying that the rhetoric of some politicians designed to disparage their opponents and, possibly, incite the public against them.

The development somewhat led to initiation and signing of the Abuja Peace Accord, which was aimed at committing political leaders and their parties to peaceful electioneering and polls, as well as effective management of the elections’ outcome.
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Observers recall that the peace pact became somewhat imperative because some politicians, in the lead-up to the elections, heated up the polity via hate speeches almost on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, as the movement towards a new political transition gradually reaches a crescendo, the observers underscore the need to put the past behind and initiate pragmatic nation-building strategies.

Dr Kunle Hassan, an anthropologist, said that all Nigerians, particularly members of the political class, should strive to do away with divisive tendencies and other anti-social behaviour that could mar the country’s image and stunt its growth.

“Nigerian politicians should disregard accumulated grievances and eschew vengeance; they should promote healing of old wounds, genuine reconciliation and mutual forgiveness,’’ he said.

Analysts, however, maintain that all Nigerians must be involved in efforts to foster the evolution of a new Nigeria that will be a symbol of pride to the citizenry.

They, however, note that some politicians, in the spirit of sportsmanship, have begun to extend the olive branch to their opponents as part of efforts to move Nigeria forward.

Such approach is certainly vital to nation-building strategies and plans to move the country to greater heights, some of the analysts say.

However, the politicians are apparently aware of this condition, judging by the statements and actions of some of them lately.

For instance, Chief , the Director of Media and Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation for the 2015 elections, who was widely accused for his hostile posture and hate speeches, has mellowed; preaching peace and understanding.

Fani-Kayode, who joined President Goodluck Jonathan in congratulating retired Maj.-Gen. Buhari, the APC presidential candidate in the March 28 election, called on Nigerians to support and cooperate with the incoming APC government.

“We should remember that we are first and foremost Nigerians before anything else.
We also Nigerians to continue to support our party as best as they can, even though we lost this election,’’ he said.

Many citizens were somewhat stunned by Fani-Kayode’s statement, considering the fact that he and Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti were, perhaps, the most vocal critics of the APC and its presidential candidate in the lead-up to the elections.

“But as true and tactical sportsmen, who knew when the game was up and when to congratulate the opponent; Fani-Kayode and Fayose were the first to congratulate Buhari for his victory,’’ Mr Damien Chukwu, a political scientist, said

“Fani-Kayode was also quick to explain his antagonistic stance to anyone who cared to listen,’’ he added.

Truly, Fani-Kayode tried to justify his approach at that time, insisting that it was all politics and that he had nothing personal against anybody.

His words: “I was simply doing my job, for which I have no regrets and I wish them (APC) well; I sincerely hope that they will take Nigeria to a level that we can all be proud of.

“We acknowledge the fact that we fought a good fight. We do not have any fears about the future for we did the right thing during the campaign.

“We have no regrets about our candidate or the way in which we conducted our campaigns, and we will live to fight another day.’’

Fani-Kayode, nonetheless, commended the APC members for standing up for what they believed in, adding that his prayer, and that of most Nigerians, was for God to guide Buhari, the President-elect, while performing the herculean tasks ahead for him.

“My prayer is that he brings our nation together, heals wounds, builds bridges, in terms of religion, ethnicity and regionalism, which he truly needs to build,’’ he said.

Fani-Kayode underscored the need for the President-elect to adopt such approach in his efforts to make Nigeria great and a better place for everyone to live in.

He stressed that although the PDP lost the presidential election, it fought a good fight, adding that the party only needed to re-group, re-organise, re-strategise and begin the process all over again; prior to the coming elections.

Also speaking, Mr Olisa Metuh, PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, assured Nigerians that the PDP would a decent and credible opposition that would proffer sound alternatives to the policies and programmes of the in-coming APC administration in a constructive way.

He pledged that the PDP would never engage in cheap propaganda and deceit, adding that the party would never insult or denigrate the office and person of the Nigerian President.

“The PDP is a political party built on values, tradition and utmost respect for democratic tenets. Our manifesto and ideology centre on national peace, stability and prosperity.

“We shall uphold this at all times. In this wise, the PDP will always continue to work in the general interest of the Nigerian people.

“We will not resort to insults, blackmail and lies, with the aim of distracting or ridiculing the person or office of the President,’’ Metuh said.

These reassuring words from some key officials of the PDP have, perhaps, set the tone for the new thinking of some Nigerians whose motto is “nation building, development; devoid of anti-social behaviour and political machinations’’.

All the same, this philosophy must be adopted by all Nigerians for the nation to remain relevant in all the socio-political and economic processes of the 21st Century civilisation, some analysts say. (NANFeatures)

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