Chancellor Advocates Tolerance During and After General Elections By Our Correspondent
Understanding, restraint and tolerance will go a long way in separating the ongoing general elections in Nigeria from all the previous ones. These were the submissions, last Friday, of the Chancellor of Covenant University, Dr. David Oyedepo in a charge to the academic members of the University community.
Dr. Oyedepo, speaking at the Friday Faculty Fellowship of the institution on election eve, tasked every member of staff to be civil, mature and exhibit decency in the discharge of their civic responsibilities in the March 28 and April 11 elections. Describing the elections as crucial to Nigeria’s image and development as a nation, Oyedepo appealed to everyone not to allow emotions take the better side of their rationality, positing that “ability to tolerate one another in a competitive atmosphere, without taking any particular person who differs from your standpoint or choice as enemy, is the height of democratic maturity and civility”.
Challenging them to accept whatever the outcome of the elections is, the Chancellor asked: “do you assure me that a day or two after the election verdict and your candidate had lost, you will still smile at or shake the hands of your colleagues who supported the other candidate who won?”
Dr. Oyedepo preached peace and understanding between the candidates and their supporters and charged Nigerians to eschew violence or critical outbursts in the event of any disagreement. He particularly urged all to remember that when crisis results, it would take the nation many years backward again.
The Chancellor offered prayers for the peace of the elections and asked that there would not be another spectre of bloodletting or protracted inter-ethnic or interfaith skirmishes, putting the nation in the charge of God before, during and after the polls.