As the 2019 general elections approach, a former United Nations Under-Secretary General, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari (CFR), has appealed to Nigerians to insist on and work for a peaceful, free and credible contest that will eventually engender good governance.   

Prof. Gambari, who is also a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, made the appeal in Ilorin last Tuesday (October 23, 2018) while addressing guests at the 34th Convocation Ceremony of the University of  Ilorin.

 The consummate diplomat, whose address was entitled "Education for Peace, Democracy and Development", called on the Federal Government and all stakeholders to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant institutions to organise impeccable elections that will be devoid of crisis and which will promote the global image of Nigeria as a democratic nation.

Prof. Gambari advised Nigerians "to rise above parochial and exclusionary situations in our growing democracy", stating that the electorate have a lot of role to play in building an enduring democratic governance through their dispositions and organizational ability which, if properly channeled, will compel those who are entrusted with political power to offer qualitative leadership.  

    He added that Nigeria should do everything not to disappoint members of the international community who are now focusing their rapt attention on the country, not only because they believe that the Nigeria has what it takes to occupy a respectable position in international politics but because of the imaginable cost the disruption of peace in Nigeria would inflict on the Western World, particularly, Great Britain, where more than two million Nigerians hold citizenship.

   Prof. Gambari, who was also the longest-serving Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, contended that for the country to experience all-round development, there is the need for proper and adequate political education of the citizenry for them to appreciate their inalienable rights and duties to the State. He added that this admirable condition can only be brought about when the voting population is given sound education through adequate and relevant tutelage right from the school.

 The renowned diplomat expressed the conviction that peace and development will only be firmly rooted in the polity when political power is entrusted in those who possess sophisticated knowledge of the hitherto and recurrent internal and global dynamics in governance, politics, peace-building and socio- economic environment.

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs paid glowing tributes to the authorities of the University of Ilorin for their cumulative contributions, which effectuated in the glittering heritage of the University as a peaceful "place of excellence and great achievements", which turns out finest products on annual basis and who are doing very well in their various callings.

While commending the University for establishing the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies (CPSS) and sustaining the academic programmes of the Centre, Prof. Gambari enjoined the graduands and youths across the country to embrace the culture of peace and "never allow yourselves to be used to do bad things”.

 He said that no effort should be spared by the concerned stakeholders to avoid the repeat of the conflagrations which followed the 2011 general elections during which several lives and property worth millions of Naira were destroyed in certain parts of the country.