January 19, 2015
WE CONDEMN THE PUNCH FRONT PAGE ADVERT OF MESSAGE OF DEATH
The front-page of the Punch of Monday, 19th January, 2015 carried an unusual advert with the caption” Nigerians be Warned: life and Death” and a subtitle of “Enough of state burials”. The title is a return to the infamous unfortunate statement by former president Obasanjo that election was a do or die affair. The subtitle prophesied that one of the candidates if voted could die in office. Taken together, the two statements are not only provocative but meant to incite emotion and inflame the already charged atmosphere of the campaign. The front page advert in the Punch is not only in bad taste but also a complete repudiation of the accord that the two presidential candidates just signed to refrain from inciting campaign and urgent their followers to keep the peace.
CITAD4Peace finds this advert as totally out of tune with the peace accord. We condemn it in the strongest terms possible crass displayed of efforts aimed at provocation. We call on the placers of the advert to offer an apology to Nigerian and the PDP for dragging it to the warmongering position and call on both its presidential candidate and its campaign team to disassociate themselves from the advert. We further call on all politicians to keep to the terms of the accord that they should ensure that they and their supporters do not engage in inciting and inflammatory language. We call on the relevant regulatory agencies to take action against the Punch Newspapers for willing to allow its pages to the space for dangerous speech.
Election is not opportunity for citizens to make decision for the future. It is not about deciding on how to kill each other. We call on all well meaning Nigerians to not only apply moral sanctions against politicians who indulge in dangerous speech but also continue to educate both citizens and politicians on the needs to civil in their campaign utterances for after election is a civil duty and civic responsibility for which only peaceful conduct can guarantee the results that we all want. On our part we continue to No to inflammatory and dangerous statements in campaign!
- Z. Yaú