President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, gave the charge on Friday in message titled: “On the March Again: My Message to Nigerians.”
He said “The post-election violence of 2011 is still fresh in our memory and we cannot afford another one. God instructed in the Holy Bible and Koran that we should be our brother’s keepers. While rights of individuals should be respected, CAN believes that Nigerians must be given their rights to vote for whoever they want. We call on Nigerians to vote according to their conscience in line with democratic principles and not through coercion. Our advice is vote and protect your votes but avoid acts of violence that could threaten a credible electoral exercise.”
He said Nigerians must eschew violence and assist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a transparent and credible exercise because democracy does not express itself through violence.
He counseled that “We must have confidence in each other. We must ensure that Christians are safe in Muslim areas and vice versa. Nobody must be victimised on the basis of religion or ethnicity. Everyone must be able to go out and vote for whoever they want; this commitment is necessary. The security agencies must ensure the protection of the lives and property of citizens.
“Everyday defines who we are and the future of this country is not tied to a particular date. A lot of people have reasoned that the 2015 general election will define the unity and existence of Nigeria. But we say No! Elections will come and go, but Nigeria will remain. Those who believe that Nigeria will break will be disappointed because this is our country. We urge the citizenry to take their minds away from the thinking that Nigeria is going to break in 2015.”
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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