•Over post-election violence
•Sultan, Ooni, Sanusi, Adeboye listed as facilitators
IF the proposal is agreeable to both parties, President Goodluck Jonathan and former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, would be signing a commitment to non-violent post-election reactions.
The peace proposal to the two leading candidates in the 2015 presidential election was at the instance of the diplomat and elder statesman, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi.
In an open letter to Jonathan, the presidential standard-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Buhari of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), the vice chairman of the just-concluded national conference noted that post-election violence was inevitable in the February 14, 2015, except the duo was committed to a peace undertaking.
He went down the memory lane on how the late national security adviser discarded his proposal to forestall post-election violence during the 2011 presidential election and the attendant tragedy of epic proportion that trailed the loss by Buhari.
He predicted that post-election violence was certain this time around, regardless of where the victory pendulum swung.
Akinyemi, a former Minister of Internal Affairs, listed 10 prominent Nigerians as proposed facilitators of the desired peace deal.
They are the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade; the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi; the Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha; the Oba of Benin, OmoN’oba Erediauwa; former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor
Others included the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye and former heads of state, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdulsalaam Abubakar.
The letter, dated December 16, 2014, read in part: “shortly after his appointment as National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi, at his own request, met with me in my office in Lagos to discuss the state of the nation.
“It was on the eve of the 2011 elections. I told the General that I was not worried about the conduct of the elections or about the outcome which I expected President Jonathan to win. What really worried me, I told the General, was the management of the violence that would ensue after the elections. I was sure that there would be violence on a massive scale and I made some suggestions to him about how I thought the violence could be contained. My suggestions were not acted upon. The elections occurred, President Jonathan won and all hell broke loose. Missing were the conflict-controlled measures which I had discussed with General Azazi.
“Now we are back at the same crossroads again, except this time is more precarious and dangerous than the last time. Firstly, we have this very notorious prediction from United States (US) semi-official sources that the world is expecting a cataclysmic meltdown of the Nigerian nation come 2015.
“Of course, most Nigerians have taken umbrage at this prediction for their country. But there are Nigerians who are indifferent to the outcome of this prediction. One of my low moments during the just concluded 2014 national conference was, when in an attempt to break an impasse, I painted a grim picture of devastation which would follow a breakdown of the Nigerian state, to which a delegate between 45 and 55 years old replied ‘so what?’
“I thought to myself, here is a man who would probably run away to a neighbouring country at the boom of the first gun but was callously indifferent to the fate of the youth, women and children who would be caught in the middle.
“Secondly, the certainty of violence after the 2015 elections is higher than it was in 2011. If President Jonathan wins, the North would erupt into violence as it did in 2011. If General Buhari wins, the Niger-Delta will erupt into violence. I don’t believe that we need rocket science to make this prediction.
“The violence of 2015 is going to be horrendous and worse than the one of 2011 for the simple reason that the illegal massive importation of weapons into the country has reached such alarming proportions that I really wonder which is better armed, the militias on one hand or the official armed forces on the other hand.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I am not imputing the illegal importation of arms to any particular zone. Some years ago, some Iranians were arrested for bringing in a shipload of weapons into Lagos harbor. They were tried and jailed and then smuggled out of the country. Some months ago, sophisticated weapons were discovered buried in the basement of a Kano house. All these have now fallen below the radar. These are the ones we know about. How many do we not know about?
“There are states and movements out there, African and non-African, which do not mean well for the Nigerian state, which wish Nigeria to dissolve into a theatre of bloodshed, gore and instability. They will succeed if we continue the politics of making enemies of ourselves and friends of our enemies.”
On the way forward, he said, “the first step forward is for the two presidential candidates to meet and sign a memorandum of undertaking that will commit both to: a civil and peaceful campaign, devoid of threats, a commitment to preach peaceful elections to their supporters, a commitment to control their supporters after the elections. Supporters of whoever loses should be entitled to peaceful protests, but not to violent protests.
“I also appeal to the the Sultan, the Emir of Kano, the Lamido of Adamawa, the Ooni of Ife, the Oba of Benin, Chief Anyaoku, Pastor Oritsejafor, Pastor Adeboye, General Gowon and General Abdulsalaam to facilitate the pre-election meeting between the candidates, the preparation of the memorandum of undertaking and as a council of wisemen, to assist in managing the post-election conflicts.”