Being the full text of a message by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on the political violence that rocked Saturday’s presidential election:
Dear citizens of Nigeria,
It has come to my knowledge that a number of Nigerian citizens are verified, by local and international observers, to have died since the election began on Saturday, February 23, 2019. Even more citizens have been wounded, maimed or in some way affected by the violence perpetuated by some misguided persons in our midst.
My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the departed and those affected by the violence. I have also initiated steps to assist those in need of medical or other assistance.
Even one death is too much for me to accept. I hold the life of every Nigerian and indeed everyone one in Nigeria as sacrosanct.
I call on all Nigerians to remember the words of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which I quoted on February 13, 2019, “My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian”.
And it is not just my ambition. I amplify that statement today and declare to Nigeria and the world that NOBODY’s political ambition is worth the blood of any citizen. Nobody means nobody.
As Nigerian citizens, the Peoples Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress and any other party are our secondary identities. I have every reason to be proud of my party, but this is not about the PDP. Today, my party and your party should be Nigeria.
As such, I call for an end to all violence. I also call for an end to every rhetoric that promotes violence.
I urge all Nigerian citizens not to take the law into their hands. All previous violence is condemnable. There must be no form of violence from now. Peacefully resist any attempt to undermine democracy and refrain from acts capable of leading to a breakdown of law and order.
Let me say without mincing words that any order to use any form of violence against any Nigerian citizens that is unknown to our laws and our constitution is an illegal order.
The lives of all Nigerians matter to God and to me. I repeat the lives of all Nigerians matter to God and to me.
There is light at the end of the tunnel and I urge all Nigerians to turn away from darkness to that light.
May God bless Nigeria and may God bless you.
Waziri Atiku Abubakar
24th February 2019.