The Founder, Silverbird Group, Ben Murray Bruce has called for peace in Nigeria as he advised losers and winners of the recent presidential and National Assembly elections to embrace peace instead of war.
He made this call at the Silverbird Man of The Year Awards which was held at the Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday.
Murray-Bruce says democracy is still the best system of government, calling on politicians and their supporters not to allow the incursion of military rule into the country again.
As he put it, “We’ve been through a very difficult time with the elections we’ve had and the mood of the nation is not as great as I thought it will be. Some people are sad, some are happy, some are excited and I’m lost for the way Nigeria feels right now. So, I would just imagine a class, high school, university. The kid next to you got an A Plus, distinction. And you flopped, the kid in front of you celebrating, happy, and excited. They made it. But you are sad because you didn’t get the grades. Both of you are friends: one made it, one didn’t. What do you do?”
He warned against military strike as he related his speech to the event of the past when politicians would lose election and then call for military to take over. “Let’s go back in time. The civilian era before the military era, politicians who lost election wait for the military to overthrow the government. It was the only way they could get revenge for losing an election. That was not right, but they did it. I remember in 83, I was at punch Newspapers head office and I was talking to the owner of Punch and he was dying of cancer. That weekend, December 31st, he wrote an editorial: front page, back page, inside front page and he asked for the overthrow of the Shagari administration. The very next day, the military struck, Shagari went to prison and the military took over Nigeria. We cannot afford to be so angry that we ask the military to come back and rule us again. We must be careful; we can win and we can lose. This is the way I see defeat.
According to the senator, defeat means you have a chance to find out what went wrong, fix the problem so that you can become a better competitor in another date. Defeat doesn’t mean you destroy Nigeria or you destroy the system. It is counterproductive. Defeat can never help you.
“If you destroy Nigeria, you have no jobs, kids cannot go to school, you cannot have resources, and we will all be in trouble. Defeat does not give you the right to destroy what keeps us alive. Defeat gives you the opportunity to roll it over, start up all over again and become a better person and successful one more time.”
He pleaded with all those who lost in the election to think about what the future of the country while urging winners no to gloat over the victory but should form an inclusive government to move the country forward.
“And if you have won, please, when you win an election, do not gloat, do not tell the world how great you are, have some compassion for those who lost. After all, when you win, you will lead those who lost, and you will have to accommodate them in your government or if you want or deal with them as your subjects. If you run a truck over them, make them feel they are nothing, they will revolt and rebel. If they revolt and rebel, you cannot lead, you cannot rule, you will get yourself in trouble.
We are at the crossroads of life. Some have lost some have won. But, in the end, we are all Nigerians. We must find a way to co-exist peacefully so we all become as successful as nature.