The Methodist Church Nigeria has appealed to politicians, who lost out during the February 23 elections, to accept defeat or seek legal redress, instead of overheating the polity.
The Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, Most Rev. Samuel Uche, made the appeal on Tuesday in Lagos while briefing newsmen on the state of the nation.
”The Presidential elections has come and gone, some won, others lost. But this should not make Nigeria crumble. Those who won should exhibit maturity and be magnanimous in victory.
”While those who lost should accept defeat, either temporarily or permanently with patience and equanimity. No sacrifice including conceding defeat will be too much.
”Moreover the winner of the current election has promised to run an inclusive government, which I understand to mean that even the opposition may be considered in forming the cabinet in the coming tenure.
”However, if any feels cheated, he or she can choose lawful means of realising his or her alleged stolen mandate without calling for war,” the Methodist Church leader said.
The Prelate urged Nigerians to come out en masse and vote for candidates of their choice in this Saturday’s gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections.
He also urged the Federal Government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure credible elections as witnessed in developed countries.
”Let us disallow the intimidation of opposition parties or the harassment and sponsoring of thugs to intimidate opponents.
”Furthermore, let the military, if need be, not be involved in polling stations, booths and collation centres; they may standby at a distance to wait for any situation that becomes overwhelming for the police.
”Let the police be allowed to discharge their civil responsibilities while INEC officials at all levels should avoid being compromised.
”Methodist Church will support the prosecution and possible imprisonment of anyone who commits electoral offences as already provided by the enabling law,” he added.
Uche urged Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic groups, to promote religious harmony and peaceful coexistence for the sustenance of development in the country.