Success, credibility of 2023 general elections prevented violence – Group 

A non-governmental organisation, the National Unity Forum (NUF), Sunday, said the success and credibility of the 2023 general election prevented those with sinister motives from orchestrating post-poll violence in the country.

This is as the forum set aside the 25th day of February every year as its National Intercession Day. 

National coordinator of the forum,  Godwin Meliga, made this known in a statement after the group converged on the Unity Fountain, Abuja, for a prayer march. 

The group held intercessory prayers for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the 36 state governors and all others in positions of authority in the country. 

After the session of prayer, worship and thanksgiving at the Unity Fountain, the group embarked on a solidarity march to the headquarters of INEC in Maitama, where they held another round of prayer for the success of all subsequent elections in Nigeria. 

It lauded the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for living above board during the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

According to the statement, the group particularly prayed for the success of Yakubu, while describing his position as pivotal to the sustenance, growth and development of our nation’s democracy. 

Meliga said the group’s decision to resort to prayers to God as a way out of the myriad challenges confronting the nation was informed by the time-tested efficacy of prayer, and guided by scriptural injunctions. 

He quoted  1Timothy 2:1-2 as follows: ‘I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives…’

Meliga said: “The group thanked Prof. Yakubu and his team for their strident efforts at ensuring the success and credibility of the 2023 general elections. 

“It opined that given the tense state of the national polity prior to the last general elections, due mainly to socio-ethnic and geopolitical diversities, any attempt by INEC to have delivered a compromised electoral process could have triggered violent upheavals across the country, which may have threatened the very fabrics of our mutual coexistence. 

“But the fact that INEC, under Prof. Yakubu, was obviously above board in the discharge of its mandate during the last general elections, helped to a great extent in disarming all those nursing sinister intentions for the country, including all those who may wish to capitalize on the outbreak of widespread electoral violence to achieve their narrow destabilization agenda for Nigeria.

“Our group therefore enjoined all patriotic citizens of Nigeria, regardless of their faith, to consider it a  civic obligation to spare some moments on the 25th of February every year to join their hearts in prayers to God for national peace, unity and progress.” 

Meliga said while other Nigerians may “resort to acts of self-denial, civil disobedience and open protests in order to express their disenchantment with the prevailing socio-economic and political challenges facing Nigeria, his group resorted to praying because it was the best option for the country at the moment.”