Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to stop his wife, Patience, from making hate speeches capable of causing violence across the country.
The governor also asked the President to disown other inciting comments made by his supporters and aides publicly to show that he did not support them.
Fashola spoke while receiving the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu at the State House, Marina, Lagos, southwest Nigeria on Tuesday evening.
Patience Jonathan in recent times had been making inciting comments, telling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, supporters in Clabar last week to stone anybody calling for a change of government and describing the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari as “brain dead”.
The governor said sometime ago, Barack Obama publicly disowned a damning comment made by his church against the United States, saying that he had nothing to do with such comment.
“When some people say if the president did not win an election, this will happen and the president kept quiet, what message is he sending to Nigerians? He is telling us that we are not safe if he doesn’t win. The president must speak up and reassure Nigerians that the country must be safe no matter the outcome of the election. That is his responsibility.
“It is not enough to sign a peace accord but to act it. If the president wants to campaign in any state 24 hours, he is allowed but there are things he must publicly dissociate himself from.
“He must publicly dissociate himself from his wife’s inciting comments, he must. He must disown them and his leadership will be defined by whether he does it himself or ask his aides to go and say it. When all is said and done, this election will define his tenure for many reasons,” he stated.
Fashola said Jonathan must be ready to accept the outcome of the election, whether it favours him or not and ensure that there is no violence in the country.
According to Fashola, “this is the time when he should assure the whole nation to leave Jega and INEC alone because all these distractions bring about anxiety. Who provided the money for the PVCs and Card Readers? So, why are they crying? It is people who want to manipulate the system that don’t want this.”
He lamented that more than ever, people are leaving the country because of the fear of election violence, adding that “The airlines are full when going out and light when coming in, people who go out are not coming in.”
Fashola said never in the history of the nation had election been tilted towards ethnic and religious lines, with the undue use of the military to oppress the opposition.
“The role of the military is to defend the territorial integrity of the nation. In all other countries, the military is the last resort. The strength of the military globally are not people you can see daily. That gives me some concern in the case of Nigeria,” he said.
He stated that in the build up to the general elections, the federal government amended the Electoral Act to say that all electoral cases must be prosecuted within 180 days, saying that that is unjust and that a portion of the Electoral Act must be repealed before these elections commence.
Speaking, Odinkalu said he had been worried about cases of violence in the build up to the coming elections and appealed for calm.
“The country is in political season, there is no alternative to democratic, civil polity. I am worried about political violence. To see what is happening in our politics must challenge all of us. It is our challenge to make this politics work. Lagos is where it begins for the nation. We spend time as a commission to track political violence and both are happening at a level that worries us,” he said.
Odinkalu said there was need for Lagos to show example by ensuring that no form of violence was allowed during this election period, even as he presented a book on pre-election violence to the governor.