By Wilson Adekumola
A group of tribal leaders consists of various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, has called on aggrieved presidential candidates in the 2023 general election not to leave the country because they lost out in a keenly contested polls.
The leaders deliberately urged the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, and Labour Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr Peter Obi, to remain as statesmen and join hands in building the nation.
According to Vangaurd, the group, which staged an advocacy work on Wednesday in Abuja on the platform of “The Natives”, however charged the political leaders to caution their supporters and kicked against calls for an Interim National Government.
The Supreme Leader of ‘The Natives’, Olalekan Edwards, who led the protest, also declared support for actions taken by Nigeria’s defence, security and intelligence personnel to rein in sponsors of the ING plot.
He said, “In the spirit of the commencement of the healing process and rebuilding the nation, as a patriotic appeal from the President-elect, Senator Bola Tinubu, we call on Nigerians to give peace a chance.”
They also urged “Christians, in the spirit of resurrection, to pray for the Nation and calling on Muslims to use the last 10 days of Ramadan to seek for God’s favour and mercy for our great nation.
“We call on INEC to conduct and conclude the remaining supplementary elections without fear or favour in our joint bid to collectively move the nation forward progressively.
“We are hearing rumours that some presidential candidates of various parties have started leaving the country.
“This is a trademark of any politician who is just an opportunist.
“We, however, call on our respected Labour Party candidate, His Excellency Peter Obi to please stay in the country because his talents, abilities and his contributions are needed in this country.
“As a patriot, he does not need to go on exile.
“We are also hearing that the PDP candidate, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar will soon be on his way back to Dubai.
“Whether he has gone or about to leave, we appeal to him to stay back because his valuable contributions are needed in this country.
“We encourage all of them to stay back like President Muhammadu Buhari stayed back because this is the process of contributing to development of our democracy and Nigeria.
“For Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his party has lost elections twice but this one he won through proper collaboration and we are asking all to work together for the growth of our beloved Nigeria and its democracy.”
Speaking on the conduct of security personnel during and after the elections, the Natives said, “Today is April 12. We assert as follows:
“Nigerian Military and the intelligence community deserve global applause.
Our country has been awake to the emergence of political saboteurs reminiscent of June 12, 1993, roaming the nation in search of collaborators to truncate our 24 years of uninterrupted democracy.
“These saboteurs by their open and sinister moves have been busted by the vigilance and verity of the Department of State Security.
“We must at this juncture openly commend profusely the swift response of the DSS under their Director General, the Defense Headquarters, and the entire Intelligence community for their professionalism and commitment to their democratic obligation by alerting, and distancing the establishment from any complicity and readiness to frustrate any mischievous effort to truncate our much-cherished democracy.”