Obama made his comment via a video posted on Monday on the White House official website.
The US President, who also called for the safe rescue of the more than 200 kidnapped Chibok girls by Boko Haram, reminded Nigerians that “successful elections and democratic progress” would help Nigeria meet the challenges it currently faces.
He therefore urged Nigerians to peacefully express their views on election days and “reject the voices of those who call for violence.”
According to him, the elections presented to Nigerians, the opportunity to unite in saying no to violence and extremism and instead show their support for a more peaceful, secure and prosperous future.
“I call on all Nigerians to peacefully express your views and to reject the voices of those who call for violence. And when elections are free and fair, it is the responsibility of all citizens to help keep the peace, no matter who wins,” Obama added.
The US President made it clear in the message that it was the duty of all voters to safeguard the democratic process by performing their civic responsibility peacefully.
He said, “Today, I want to speak directly to you—the people of Nigeria. Successful elections and democratic progress will help Nigeria meet the urgent challenges you face today.
“Boko Haram—a brutal terrorist group that kills innocent men, women and children—must be stopped. Hundreds of kidnapped children deserve to be returned to their families.
“Nigerians who have been forced to flee deserve to return to their homes. Boko Haram wants to destroy Nigeria and all that you have worked to build. By casting your ballot, you can help secure your nation’s progress.”
He also urged all Nigerians to put their ethnic and religious backgrounds behind ahead of the polls, saying that the task ahead required unity.
“I’m told that there is a saying in your country: ‘to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done.’ Today, I urge all Nigerians—from all religions, all ethnic groups, and all regions—to come together and keep Nigeria one. And in this task of advancing the security, prosperity, and human rights of all Nigerians, you will continue to have a friend and partner in the USA,” he added. The US President also had a message to Nigerian leaders, especially the two leading candidates – President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party and Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress: They must caution their supporters against violence during and after the March 28 polls.
“I call on all leaders and candidates to make it clear to their supporters that violence has no place in democratic elections—and that they will not incite, support or engage in any kind of violence—before, during, or after the votes are counted,” he advised.