Ahead of tomorrow’s presidential and National Assembly polls, President Muhammadu Buhari has, for the umpteenth time, given assurance of his administration’s resolve to midwife free, fair and credible elections, the type that brought him to office in 2015.
The president, who stated this last night in his nation-wide broadcast to Nigerians, also assured foreign observers of adequate protection during the election.
He reminded Nigerians that tomorrow’s elections beckon on all eligible voters to step forward to once again exercise their constitutional right to choose the leaders that will pilot the affairs of the nation for the next four years.
He said, “I wish therefore to start by assuring all Nigerians that this government will do its very best to ensure that the 2019 elections take place in a secure and peaceful atmosphere.
“It was indeed such free, fair and peaceful elections that made it possible for our government to emerge despite the fact that we were contesting against a long-standing incumbent party.
“ And as your president and a fellow Nigerian, I ask that you come out and queue to fulfil this important obligation you have to yourselves and your fellow citizens – and to our common future. “Let me at this point reaffirm the commitment of the federal government to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere.
Just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates. “I want to assure all Nigerians, the diplomatic community and all foreign election observers of their safety and full protection.
Any comments or threats of intimidation from any source do not represent the position of the federal government of Nigeria.”
Noting that both the government and the citizenry have a critical role to play in maintaining enduring democratic traditions, Buhari urged Nigerians to take a personal interest in promoting and maintaining peace in their respective neighbourhoods during the elections.
According to him, this is not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive one to desperation. “ At this point, I want to make a special appeal to our youth: Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence and destruction.
The people who want to incite you are those preparing the ground for discrediting the elections. Having lost the argument, they fear losing the elections,” the president said. Buhari went to speak about the mandate he has held since May 2015, saying that when Nigerians elected him in 2015, it was essentially because of his promise of change.
“We committed ourselves to improving security across the country, putting the economy on a sound footing and tackling rampant corruption, which had in many ways become a serious drawback to national development.
“Our government spent the last three years and nine months striving faithfully to keep this promise, in spite of very serious revenue shortages caused mainly by a sharp drop in international oil prices and an unexpected rise in the vandalisation of oil installations which, mercifully, have now been curtailed.
“ We nevertheless pressed on in our quest to diversify the economy, create jobs, reduce commodity prices and generally improve the standard of living among our people,” he said.
President Buhari lamented that the toll of insecurity and corruption on Nigeria’s collective livelihood was incalculable, but that his administration frontal attack on these twin evils was gaining momentum and bringing about visible progress.