The Inter Party Advisory Council on Thursday said tension was high ahead of the 2023 general election because of the winner takes all syndrome among politicians.
The organisation said in that case, no room was given for losers in political contests, and usually results in desperation to clinch powers at all costs by candidates and their supporters.
Speaking with 2023 presidential candidates of various political parties at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, the Deputy National Chairman of IPAC and National Legal Adviser of Accord Party, Maxwell Mgbudem, cautioned politicians that no victory was worth the blood of any Nigerian.
He said, “Election, as observed every four years, is a high level call to civic obligations on Nigerian citizens, to make choices of leaders who will administer the country and spearhead the distribution of dividends of democracy to the people.
“Thus, the stakes are really high, especially against the background of an entrenched zero sum political culture in our nation; in which the winner takes it all. Distinguished leaders and elders, this can explain the tension and inflamed passion witnessed between candidates and their supporters ahead of this all important election.”
While stating that the essence of signing of the Peace Accord signified collective resolve and commitment to ensure that the 2023 general election was bloodless, Mgbudem enjoined them to abide by the letters of the Oath they took.
The IPAC leader, therefore, cautioned political gladiators and their army of supporters that no inflamed passion over high political stakes was worth setting the country on fire, adding that any consideration capable of causing wanton destruction of lives and properties should best be avoided.
“This is a moment to stop and reflect on what becomes of the nation, her citizens and our democracy, if unquestionable fire erupts out of the electoral process when we instigate our followers to violence through our actions and inactions.
“It is, therefore, on this premise that IPAC calls on politicians to play by the rules, de-escalate tension and embrace one another in peace, so as to instil the understanding that election is not a do or die affair among their supporters”, Mgbudem said.
According to him, the Peace Accord should not be seen as a mere ceremonial exercise of putting pen to the letters of oath, rather, it is an endorsement of a united and peaceful Nigeria, to which maximum commitment is required through peaceful conduct and utterances both during and after the elections.
He commended the National Peace Committee led by a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), for the role played to ensure that politicians campaigned based on issues and citizens are also allowed to vote for candidates of their choice peacefully.
“As IPAC appreciates your efforts and genuine commitment in our democratic journey, we wish to assure you that posterity will judge you kindly, especially given the role you have played over the years to encourage peace in our elections”, according to him.
IPAC also called on INEC to ensure that a level-playing field was provided to all political parties, adding, “grievances and genuine concerns raised by any party or candidate must be addressed on time and no political party should be treated as more sacred than others, for this is a prelude to electoral violence.
“This election should not only be seen to have been conducted free and fair, but must be seen and judged as transparent and credible by every political party and their candidates, so as to inspire their acceptance and confidence.”