President Goodluck Jonathan has said there are some anti-democratic forces working to truncate the 2015 elections. The President spoke yesterday at the All-Political Parties Summit at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. The summit was organised by the Office of the Special Adviser on Inter-Party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi.
Jonathan urged Nigerians to ensure that such forces do not exploit the system’s weaknesses to perpetrate evils.
He said: “There are still very remorseless anti-democratic forces operating in the political system. They are ever ready to exploit lapses in the management of our political and electoral processes.
“Some of these forces may, indeed, during the forthcoming elections use their lifestyle to truncate the nation’s hard-won democratic liberty.
“But dear compatriots, with respect to the 2015 elections in particular and our journey as a nation in general, we must never allow these negative forces to prevail.”
Jonathan said the conduct and utterances of some prominent politicians were heightening tension in the land.
According to him, the security situation in Nigeria will better be addressed by a united political class.
He said: “The current national political outlook, with regards to inter-party collaboration, is less than salutary. Indeed, the conduct and utterances of leading politicians at home and abroad are rapidly creating and spreading unnecessary tension in the country.
“Such unguarded utterances, on their part, fester the embers of discord, bitterness and rancour. Such unfortunate developments play into the hands of extremist elements waging a vicious campaign of terror against the state.
“The recent mindless bombings and killings of innocent Nigerians in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); in Jos, Plateau State; the killings in Adamawa State, including that of the traditional ruler as well as the heartless and criminal abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, are better addressed by a political class united in its commitment to defend the polity, irrespective of political differences.
“We must never politicise the fundamentals and core imperatives of defending the state. Doing so can only embolden the terrorists and other enemies of our republic to employ any perceived political and social division for their nefarious ends.
“We must never give them such opportunity. Our political parties must remain positive and constructive in their engagements as we seek to build virile and stable nation that can compete with other states in the world.”
The summit, the President said, must be an occasion for political rejuvenation and reorientation.
He added that its outcome must be a common stand against anti-democratic forces waging war against the state.
Jonathan said: “We must first build a nation before engaging in arguments on how best to run it. The system is not yet so shock-proof to withstand all unguarded and careless political statements and actions.
“If our state enterprise fails, no political party or politician can stand it. Hence, at a time such as this, when our existence as a nation is threatened by anti-democratic forces, we politicians and political parties must rise to the higher moral grounds in defence and protraction of our existence as one nation and one people.
“Our roles should not be limited to the struggle to win elections and acquire political powers but also to handling the demands of patriotism and statesmanship and restoring hope to the Nigerian people.
“We must reinforce and recommit our various supporters across the nation to the Nigerian project, irrespective of party affiliation, ideological differences and alliances. History will not judge us kindly if this country fails as a result of our actions and inactions.
“We have no choice but to work together, and the time is now.”
The President expressed gratitude to all parties “that answered the clarion call”, particularly, former Heads of State and All Progressive Congress (APC) National Leader, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, Gen. Buhari has demonstrated statesmanship and patriotism and the willingness to put partisanship aside in the collective preserve of Nigeria’s nationhood.
Gen. Buhari warned parties against politicising the insurgency in the land, especially in the Northeast.
He urged all to unite and adhere strictly to the constitution and the Electoral Act.
The APC leader called for proper funding of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), adding that it is only an independent electoral body that can shape the polity and guarantee credible elections.
Former President Shehu Shagari, who was represented by one his sons, Aminu, urged the political class to shun violence and politics of bitterness.