The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is working towards brokering a deal that would see President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) hold a joint broadcast condemning election violence.
Chidi Odinkalu, chairman of the commission, said the idea is for Jonathan and Buhari to jointly speak to Nigerians and tell them that the election is between brothers and not a war, and that the country belongs to us all.
Odinkalu, who was speaking at the presentation of a pre-election report and advisory on violence in the 2015 general election in Abuja on Friday, disclosed that about 58 Nigerians had been killed in pre-election violence across 22 states in the country in the past 52 days.
“Let us change the messaging for this election and show we can do better,” he admonished Nigerians. “We want to show that Nigerians can hold elections without killing one another.”
He restated the commission’s aim of naming and shaming hate-speech perpetrators, saying such people have no business in politics.
Regarding the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its chairman, Attahiru Jega, the NHRC chief stated that they should be accorded respect and not condemnation.
“Let us respect the man and his team. Let us stop the business of tarnishing INEC and Jega,” he said.
He observed that the 2015 elections would be decided by Nigerians who have no memory of past episodes of violence in the country, and urged citizens to eschew provocative utterances and comments, particularly on the social media.