The Nigerian Guild of Editors, during a meeting of its standing committee in Lagos, appraised the state of the nation, and resolved thus on the General Elections billed to commence this weekend, March 28, 2015:
After the initial postponement of the elections by six weeks, due to security concerns, and the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to get better prepared, it is gratifying that no further postponement is being contemplated.
The six weeks postponement window has allowed our armed forces, in collaboration with a multi-national coalition from the sub-region, to deal devastating blows on insurgents in the Northeast of the country.
We salute the gallantry of the forces, which has made the region more conducive for voting in elections. We observe that the campaigns, rather than focus on issues that are germane to our national life, have rather dwelt on individuals. And it was done in such bilious and acrimonious way, whipping up negative emotions and sentiments, emphasizing our fault lines as a people. The NGE condemns such in no unmistakable terms. We, however, commend the electorate for keeping their heads, and urge them to do the same all
through the elections.
The stakes are high in the elections, no doubt, but voting to elect leaders is an integral part of democracy. Without a free and fair voting process, we can’t say we have a democracy. We, therefore, do not believe that a country should die because it held elections. On the contrary, elections should strengthen democracy, and reinforce national development. In view of that, we do not agree with any group or interest threatening fire and brimstone over the outcome of the elections. Nigeria belongs to us all, and is greater than all.
The onus is on all stakeholders to comport themselves decently and in order in this season. INEC, political parties, politicians, the electorate, security agencies, the media etc must work for the overall good of the country. Unbridled partisan considerations can only open the door of Armageddon, and when such is opened, nobody can determine who enters through such infernal door.
When results of free and fair elections are released, let the loser be gracious in defeat, and let the winner be magnanimous in victory. In such contest, there is bound to be a victor, just as there would be a loser. Hell should not boil over.
We repeat: No country should die because it held elections. Fair play, please. And may these elections strengthen the bonds of our unity in diversity.