By: g9ija,lagos

*We are apolitical, with no alignment with political parties, candidates-AGN

*We are apolitical, with no alignment with political parties, candidates-AGN

As the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, prepares to conduct the 2023 general elections next year, Nigerian celebrities from different areas of the entertainment industry have appealed to all stakeholders in the nation’s political process to shun actions capable of breaching the peace.

Besides, the entertainers who expressed concern over fake news dissemination, social instigations, and tribal and religious sentiments among others ahead of the poll, called on political gladiators to engage in issue-based campaigns.

The entertainers, operating under the aegis of Celebrities United for Peace,CUP, addressing a press conference Tuesday, in Abuja, said they have offered themselves as mediators between the citizens,the political parties and the candidates to educate them on the need to jettison hate speech,fake news and shun violence before, during and after the elections.

The Converner, Celebrities United for Peace,Andy Chukwu, reading a prepared text of the briefing before newsmen, explained that the focus of the group was to disabuse the minds of all stakeholders and general public from extremism,hate speech,fake news dissemination and violent engagement throughout the electoral process.

The text read in part:”Celebrities United for Peace is a group of celebrities from different arms of the entertainment industry in Nigeria with the purpose of engaging stakeholders in the electoral process and the general public towards a hitch free and peaceful conduct of elections in Nigeria.

“Owing to the commencement of the electioneering campaigns in line with INEC directives,electorates are bound to pitch tents with different political parties and candidates. This usually gives rise to verbal warfare as supporters are always ready to go the extra mile to market and promote their candidates. Sometimes this results to hate speech, dissemination of fake news to discredit their opponents with resultant violence.

“Having carefully considered the effect of these vices,we have offered ourselves as mediators between the citizens,the political parties and the candidates to educate them on the need to jettison hate speech,fake news and shun violence before, during and after the elections.”

“As we have experienced,even before the advent of the 2023 general election calendar,the social media space,regional platforms and religious communities have been unnecessarily charged by fake news, social instigations, tribal and religious sentiments. But for the gallantry of our law enforcement agents especially the DSS whose capacity in intelligence gathering and management has ensured national stability as most of these vices are obvious threats to our national unity and security at large.”

According to the group,” Our ultimate goal is to reignite unconditional patriotism amongst the citizenry and make the protection of our unity and peaceful corporate existence an endearing necessity of collective interest. To this end, a peaceful 2023 election becomes sacrosanct.”

“Our focus is to disabuse the minds of all stakeholders and the general public from extremism, hate speech, fake news dissemination and violent engagement throughout the electoral process. The expected impact of this will activate a national conscience-oriented mentality and strategic hacking of these vices from the roots will dismantle agitated structures of conflict and guarantee a rancour-free election,” Mr Chukwu further explained.

He said the initiative”will be a national orientation project to inspire Nigerians unto political rationality while equally serving as an allegation effective contributing mechanism to save the country from tribal division, religious intolerance, ore- and post-election crises,loss of lives and properties.”

“We are quite aware that most creative minds have pitched tents with different political camps and interests. We, Celebrities United for Peace,are devoid of any partisan interest or tribal alignment,as we are committed to moderating and nurturing the conscience of all for the emancipation of a united and peaceful Nigeria beyond the 2023 election,”he added.

Also speaking, the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria,AGN,Emeka Rollas Ejezie, explained that his organisation was not aligned to any particular candidate, just as he said it was non-partisan.

“Actors Guild of Nigeria is non-partisan. If we destroy our country, we will have no Nigeria. We are a very serious influencing part of the country and people copy what we do. We have to watch our utterances and mind what we post on social media.

“It behoves all of us as celebrities to continue to moderate our speeches and actions for the betterment of Nigeria, no matter how you feel about a particular candidate or party.

“We are a very serious influencing part of the society. People copy things they see us do or say, therefore, you must take into cognizance what you say. Before you say something,you don’t mean,somebody has began to act on it. Therefore, this time, we should be careful of the utterances we make to the general public-Our Facebook utterances, YouTube utterances, social media utterances.

” If you are marketing a candidate using fake news, using fabricated news, you are only doing more harm to your own candidate because by the time we find out that all you have said is false, it only portrays who you are originally and then your own candidate should be a criminal because if you are not a criminal, you cannot support a criminal. Therefore, I plead to all of us as celebrities to continue to create this awareness.

“We must continue to work in a level where we are not fighting for the interest of ourselves, but only fighting for a better Nigeria. Therefore, let the best candidate win. No matter how you feel about a particular candidate, you must moderate your speech, moderate your actions, to support the permissiveness of the country called Nigeria.”

He appealed to citizens to “support celebrities in this guild to see that Nigeria remains Nigeria after 2023 elections.”