The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has appealed to Nigerians to eschew violence as the Africa’s largest democracy goes to poll tomorrow saying that irrespective of “their religious, ethnic and political affiliations they should embrace peace and ensure the safety of one another before, during and after the elections”.
Oritsejafor, in a statement today reminded Nigerians of the violence that followed the 2011 presidential election, adding that both Christians and Muslims have the responsibility to ensure the elections are peaceful.
“God instructed in the Holy Bible and Koran that we should be our brothers’ keepers.
“Christians and Muslims must resolve to protect each other. We must ensure that Christians are safe in Muslim areas and vice versa. Nobody must be victimized on the basis of religion or ethnicity,” he said.
“While rights of individuals should be respected, CAN believes that Nigerians must be given their rights to vote for whoever they want. We call on Nigerians to vote according to their conscience in line with democratic principles and not through coercion.
“Our advice is vote and protect your votes, but avoid acts of violence that could threaten a credible electoral exercise,” he added.
He appealed to Nigerians to support the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct credible elections. The security agencies must also ensure citizens are protected during the elections, Mr. Oritsejafor added.
He expressed confidence that the elections, commencing in hours’ time, will not lead to the disunity of Nigeria.