Governor Simon Lalong, during the 62nd independence anniversary celebration in Jos, Plateau State.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong has asked Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Independence anniversary to work for peace as they cannot be a democracy without peace.

The Governor who addressed citizens at the Rwang Pam Township stadium in Jos on Saturday also cautioned politicians and the electorate to desist from engaging in acts inimical to peace and security, especially as the campaigns ahead of the 2023 elections are ongoing.

His words, “… Without peace and stability, there will be neither democracy nor room for any politician to canvass for votes or aspire to lead. We must act with utmost responsibility and caution because, despite political differences, we are all Plateau citizens and shall continue to remain brothers and sisters.

“Similarly, I urge the youths to shun all forms of actions that are inimical to conduct of peaceful elections such as thuggery and violence. Nobody should deceive you into believing that you are relevant or you can be made rich through violence. Think about your future and reject those who hide their children but recruit the children of others to carry out political violence on their behalf.”

While charging citizens to continue to have faith and hope in the State and country as prospects are very bright, he reassured all stakeholders that “the Government under my watch will ensure that that the rights of citizens and political parties and their candidates to freely sell their manifestos and canvass for votes as enshrined in the law are protected.

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“However, those who want to use politics to cause chaos and disharmony will be confronted by the security agencies that are empowered to maintain law and order. Those who also want to cause trouble through fake news, hate speech, and incitement should be ready to face the law.”

Also, the Director-General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS), Kuru, Professor Ayo Omotayo called on Nigerians and Nigeria to keep the flag flying and make the harnessing of the huge human and material resources that abound in the country possible.

He asked that all should work together to create “the enabling environment for love, justice, peace and unity to reign, as we work towards a better society.”
Professor Omotayo, according to a statement by the Institute’s Head, Public Affairs, Sola Adeyanju, called on “all players in elections, political parties, electoral management bodies, politicians and electorates to play according to the rules and promote peace and unity in the country.”

He added, “As the apex think-tank of the country, the National Institute is convinced that in spite of all challenges facing our country, our collective efforts and desire are ingredients of hope that the future is bright. The fact that we have a large population that is young, agile, educated, enterprising and focused, is a big asset to our strive to take Nigeria, and raise her head in the comity of nations in the world. There is no doubt that harnessing these humongous human resources should be the resolve of all Nigerians.”

Senator representing Plateau South, Professor Nora Dadu’ut on her part called on citizens to “maintain unity, faith and hope as preached by Nigeria’s founding fathers,” and enjoined the people to “keep faith with the Nigeria project and shun divisive tendencies and work together to make the country better.”

Meanwhile, the Berom Youth Moulders-Association, BYM according to its National Publicity Secretary, Rwang Tengwong noted the occasion is “a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our national heroes who fought and laid down their lives to secure our independence as a nation.”

Tengwong urged the nation’s leaders to use the Day to “reflect on their inability to fulfil the social contract they have with the people,” and appealed to the electorate to “take advantage of the 2023 general Elections to get things right by voting leaders who will change the narratives of this great nation.”