President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that his government would not intimidate voters and foreign observers participating in the February 16 and March 2 elections across the country. The President stated this in a nationwide broadcast ahead of tomorrow’s presidential election.
Buhari’s remarks came barely one week after the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai threatened foreign powers over their alleged plan to interfere in the forthcoming general elections.
El-Rufai had urged foreign observers who may have been engaged by some politicians to interfere with the Nigerian general elections to jettison the idea because, “they would go back in body bags.” According to President Buhari, there was no cause for alarm since the Federal Government was making every arrangement to provide a safe atmosphere for free, fair and credible elections in the country.
He said: “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. “As government has a critical role in maintaining the democratic traditions, so do citizens. I, therefore, urge you all, as good Nigerians, to take a personal interest in promoting and maintaining peace in your respective neighbourhoods during the elections. “This is certainly not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive us to desperation,” the President said. The President urged youths across the country to avoid availing themselves for desperate politicians to use as thugs during and after the elections. He said: “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. “Think carefully and choose wisely. This time, it is a choice about consolidating on growth for Jobs and Prosperity.” According to Buhari, the February 16 election is all about a choice and is more than a choice between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition. He said: “It is a choice about you. It is a choice between going back or keeping the momentum of change.
“The road to greater prosperity for Nigeria may be long, but what you can be assured of is a leadership that is not prepared to sacrifice the future well-being of Nigerians for our own personal or material needs. You can be assured of my commitment to remain focused on working to improve the lives of all Nigerians.
“When you elected me in 2015, it was essentially in consequence of my 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.”
The President explained that in the last three and a half years, his government, which earned less revenue as compared to previous administrations, have intervened in providing critical infrastructure in different sectors of the economy, including roads, power and agriculture expansion projects.