President Lincoln made friends in a very unusual way. He once spoke kind words about his political opponents. A woman questioned how he could speak kindly of his enemies when he should rather destroy them. “What, madam,” the President retorted, “do I not destroy them when I make them my friends?”

As we approach another crucial election in the Fourth Republic of this great country called Ghana, we, the people, unfortunately, sit on tenterhooks once more – because we know things can and do get explosive in our elections – when care is nor taken – when tempers run high – when, sometimes, foul play is involved.

We have experience of both the good and the bad. This year, as we chalk the feat of an eigth election in this Republic, how about we pledge to be peaceful, law-abiding citizens who live up to the glorious call of nation-building? If not now, when? And if not us, who do we expect to guarantee the good things we enjoy – things which we, together with our forebears, have fought so valiantly for?

The peace we enjoy is not to be taken for granted. It is not something we can let go of and pick back up that easily. We should learn from the words of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberian president, who, at the Peace Pact signed by former president Mahama and current president, Nana Addo recently, spoke about the stifled development and other drawbacks that come with civil strife.

We have come far too far, as a country, to plunge ourselves into any chaos that will set us back. This is why we must remember the words of good old Abraham Lincoln in dealing with the people we may consider ‘enemies’: “Do I not destroy them (my ‘enemies’) when I make them my friends?”

Let there be no destructiveness, but, rather, let us spread an epidemic of love that will see us get safely and transparently and peacefully past another electoral cycle. We need, most of all, peace, togetherness, love and progress. As we go to the polls, let us reflect upon the words of John 14:27 which tell us: “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” God help us all to be agents of peace and love, now and always! Amen!

“If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends, you talk to your enemies,” – Desmond Tutu.