FULL TEXT: Olu of Warri calls for peace ahead of February 25 general elections
A CALL FOR PEACE AND PARTICIPATION IN THE GENERAL ELECTIONS – An Address by His Majesty Olu Atuwatse III CFR, The Olu of Warri.
The recent restlessness in Warri and environs over the past weeks have been tough, testing our resilience as a people. This same expressions have also been observed in other parts of the country. In times like this, our bond as a community and people is more important than ever, because our unity is far greater than the sum total of our parts. My fellow Nigerians, there is strength in drawing together instead of choosing division. There is power in peace, over chaos.
We must not allow temporary events to break the peace, stability, and love amongst us as citizens. We cannot afford to lose lives, infrastructure, or property any further. Therefore, I implore you to choose peace, for without peace there is no nation. As the general elections draw closer, I encourage you to keep your heart focused on rebuilding our great nation, and commit to taking steps to ensure it becomes a reality.
To our youths, I’d like to thank you for the courage you’ve shown over the last few years. I am immensely proud of our budding culture of accountability and political participation. The 2023 election season, is our chance to take it further democratically.
For far too long, too many have believed the lie, that our voices don’t matter, and our votes don’t count. This lie has only birthed despair, which steals our ability to create the future we need. Today, many challenges we pray about, are the result of policies of leadership and the response of followership to these decisions, across all levels since the advent of our journey as an independent nation. Sadly, one thing that has united all Nigerian youths, is that for long, we have raised our hands to the Almighty, with burdens in our hearts and tears in our eyes. But there is hope: The Almighty has put the answers to those prayers in those very same hands. Take those hands and able bodies, and go engage in the political process peacefully.
Apathy can no longer be a choice, just as last minute fire brigade approach, can no longer be our choice. We must be thorough and deliberate in our choices, as well as the manner in which we go about it, for our sakes and for the sake of generations to come. Young Nigerians, we can only birth change by voting for the leaders who will champion laws, policies, and actions for our peace and progress. Leaders who will choose our collective future over their personal aims and ambitions.
These elections, will be a turning point in the history of our country, and the youth cannot afford to be mere observers. Thus I encourage, no I implore you, to go out and vote. It is one day, one day that will shape the next four to eight years of our country. One day that will determine the destiny of Nigeria, and in turn, our own destinies and the destinies of our children. It is time to become active participants in the affairs and future of our nation.
Your vote is the seed that you plant for the future. You must not eat that seed. You must not sell that seed. You must not harbor the Esau syndrome. Do away with the false narrative, that has previously caused you to view that seeming small seed in your hand with doubt, despair and discouragement.
Plant that seed, nourish and tender that seed, so it germinates into a life giving tree. The process may seem tedious, but it is a small worthwhile sacrifice for the next four years and for the future of generations to come. As you go out on February 25, and other election days, go prepared mentally and physically to join the queues and to carry out your civic duty. Do all you can by cooperating with law enforcement officers and INEC officials to make polling centres conducive, peaceful, and orderly.
In becoming the citizen you want to see in others, it comes with the understanding that there will be diverging views and we must not let those views upset our democratic process.
Those whose preferred candidates are declared the winner, should be sober enough to know that the greater work of good and effective governance has only begun. Those whose preferred candidates gather lesser votes, should have the same mind, and be prepared to cooperate, as all hands must be on deck for our joint building of the collective good of our nation.
Since childhood, we have raised songs that we are the leaders of tomorrow. Well, tomorrow is here, and tomorrow is now. Let us lead with what we have—our votes. Let us lead the way to the polls and to the future we want. Let us stand strong having played our part. Then, we will continue building by demanding accountability and good leadership. This is how we will create the Nigeria we want to see: a Nigeria that works for us all.
God bless you.
God bless the Warri Kingdom.
God bless Nigeria.