U. S. Embassy in Nigeria on Thursday advised aspirants to elective offices to accept the outcome of the forthcoming elections in the interest of peace.
The Cultural Affairs Officer of the embassy, Mr Robert Kerr gave the advice during the Youth Square Dialogue Series organised in Abuja by Youth Square, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
“If the votes are counted and you lose, then there is really nothing to do; but if the electoral cycle is four years, four years is not that long a time (to wait).”
“So if you do not convince the people that you are the correct person now, there is always another election down the line.
“But if the whole system collapses because of violence, then there won’t be any elections in the future.”
“So the key is to maintain your commitment to peace.”
Kerr urged politicians to run an energetic and passionate campaign that would not only focus on issues and demands of the masses, but promote development as well.
The cultural affairs officer expressed the hope that democracy in Nigeria would grow to become free of electoral violence.
He said women could become actively involved in politics by coming out en masse to register and vote the candidate of their choice.
The NGO’s Director of Gender Development Programmes, Rhoda Robinson, said the dialogue was organised to develop strategies that would help promote active participation of young women in elections and governance.
“The major focus is to get more young women to collect their PVCs (Permanent Voter Cards) to vote and when they vote, they should make sure that they protect their votes.
“The project also involves building their capacity to hold their elected leaders accountable to the promises that they made before their elections, following them up and helping them achieve those things that they said that they would.”
According to her, Nigeria has many good policies that were not implemented because its citizens were not demanding their rights by holding the government accountable.
The theme of the dialogue was: ‘Promoting the active participation of women in electoral processes and governance’.