Sultan of Sokoto and President of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, on Thursday, called on Nigerians to protect their votes in the presidential election scheduled for Saturday.
He gave the charge in Abuja during the 2019 Murtala Muhammed Memorial Lecture, organised by Murtala Muhammed Foundation, with the theme: “Towards credible, peaceful and participatory election – Moving Nigeria’s democracy forward.”
Abubakar said, “Why so much concern about the presidential election in Nigeria especially by foreign partners? We need to ask ourselves. But the simple issue is that Nigeria’s 200 million population is such a big concern to everybody.
“The reason is that the survivability of Nigeria is so important to the world that everybody must come together to see credible and peaceful elections in Nigeria where whoever emerges will be accepted by all and must be accepted by all.”
The Sultan said that those at the top feel they were at the top and so control everything, stressing that it is the people who control everything.
The monarch said, “That is why I want to call on Nigerians go out exercise your rights, vote for the candidate you feel is best for you and ensure you protect your vote.”
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II, said that there was need for the political parties and the system to begin to put trust in young people, not just because they are in majority but because the history of Nigeria has shown that the nation achieved more with young people in charge.
He said, “The political parties and the system need to begin to put trust in young people, not just because they are the majority as people say but because when you go to the history of our country, you find it that all the great things were done by young people. You think of Tafawa Balewa, Ahamadu Bello, Yakubu Gowon, Muritala Muhammed, Olusegun Obasanjo in his first term as military Head of State.
“I certainly think Obsasanjo in his first term when he was in his 30s was a better Head of State than his second term when he was in his 70s. So, it is important I think, giving the history of our country to recommend that young people have shown that they are capable, that they have vision, that they have the energy, that they have the belief in the country and we need to consciously promote them and hopefully next elections 2023 we will begin to see much more younger people.
“I hope those who are older will be there to guide them, counsel them, the way Maitama Sule was counselling Gen. Muritala Muhammed. But it is extremely important that older generation, while they are alive to hand over this country over to the next generation, watch them and decide them so that when they are gone they are happy.”
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, said that this year’s edition was rather auspicious coming just few days to the elections.
According to her, while some progress have been made in the country’s electoral progress, a lot still needed to be done to improve democratic progress and entrench good governance.
In his keynote address titled: “Towards credible election”, a civil rights activist, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, said that the country appeared to have made some progress in its electoral process.