A Rwadan, Mr Seth Karamage, has urged Nigerians to learn from the experience of Rwanda, saying the stability of Nigeria is crucial the sub-region and the entire continent.
Karamage, a Conflict and Peace Consultant with the Inter-Faith Mediation Centre, Kaduna, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday that the Rwandan crisis had destabilised the neighbouring countries till date.
He appealed to Nigerian leaders at all levels to appeal to their supporters on the need to shun violence at the polls.
“A voice a leader gives hope; a voice of a leader destroys. We should know that a voice of a leader can destroy the whole country.
”A leader, should, whether he wins or loses, let his voice give hope to the people.
“Hope to people means that tell that whether you are my supporter, you still have a chance to live and you still have a chance to prosper without me.
“We are all leaders, you can lose, I can win, I can win, you can lose.
“But the voice that is going to come from those leaders is what is going to unite Nigeria and is what is going to destroy Nigeria.
“So I plead with the leaders like everybody has done, not only political leaders, everybody behind them, please avoid dangerous speeches.
“Avoid speeches that destroy societies because that’s what destroyed Rwanda and let everybody really know that his voice can bring hope to the people.”
According to Karamage, the crisis of one nation is not the crisis of just that single nation but the crisis of other nations around it.
He said that given the pre-eminence of Nigeria in West Africa, Africa and the world at large, all efforts should be spared to prevent violence.
“I always say that Nigeria is the China of Africa, meaning that Nigeria is the country that has the biggest human resource on the continent of Africa – 170 million.
“If that 170 million is disorganised, there will be outbreak of so many atrocities against humanity. It will be spread all over the region, West Africa, it will go even to the East Africa, because this is a huge population.
“Even the international community will be affected. See the economy of Nigeria, we don’t want it to be destabilised; we don’t want anything to touch it.
“Even me a Rwandan, I feel that if Nigeria is destabilised, Rwanda will be destabilised.
“So Nigeria is the power of Africa; everybody should stand up to make sure that nothing destabilises this country.
“Look at Rwanda, it is just a small country with 11 million people but the crisis that happened in Rwanda affected the whole region.
“And imagine now if the crisis affected 170 million people, the whole continent will be in trouble, there will be outbreak of diseases.
“So everybody, every leader, whether you are national, whether you are international, let us make sure that we prevent this outbreak of violence.”
Karamage warned those who were contemplating violence during the elections to be mindful that the long arms of the law would catch up with them.
He said those who instigated violence and fled Rwanda to other countries were caught and now facing the international tribunals and some serving different jail terms.
According to him, the whole world is watching those who are propagating inciting messages and cautioned the media to be responsible.
He said the media in Rwanda was very destructive adding that the media was used to instigate people ”to wake up and kill the cockroaches”