…Says he’s not afraid of free, fair elections
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has told Nigeria Police Force, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and other security agencies in the country to allow Nigerians to make their choice in the 2019 general elections without any form of intimidation or manipulation.
The President also made it clear that as a beneficiary of free and fair election, having suffered defeat thrice, he was not afraid of a credible process in next year’s elections.
He reaffirmed his commitment to making sure that the 2019 polls, under his watch, would be free, fair and credible.
This is even as he expressed disappointment over the handling of herdsmen and farmers clashes in the country by the media and advised that the media should make efforts to study its historical antecedents.
Speaking at an interactive session with Nigerian community in Beijing, China, yesterday, Buhari pledged that Nigerians eligible to vote in next general elections would be allowed to freely elect candidates of their choice.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the President said: “I have no fear about free and fair elections because that is what brought me to the present position. I know what I went through and very few Nigerians could boast of trying four times (contesting for the presidency).
“Those interested in participating in the elections must get their PVCs, register in their constituencies and elect anybody of their choice across ethnicity and religion.
“The Nigeria police, law enforcement agencies and INEC must respect the people to express their wishes.”
Expresses disappointment over media reports of herders/farmers clashes
On herders and farmers clashes in Nigeria, the president told Nigerians in the Diaspora that while security agencies are doing their best to curtail the clashes, the Nigerian media need to complement the efforts through objective and informed reportage.
He appealed to the Nigerian media to make an attempt at understanding the cultural and historical implications of some of the misunderstanding between herders and farmers.
He said: “To my disappointment, there are a number of things which the press in Nigeria does not make enough efforts, in my observation, to study the historical antecedents of issues that are creating national problems for us.”
On Nigeria-China relation
On Nigeria-China relations, the President applauded China’s generosity and contribution to the development of Nigeria, citing the successful completion of Abuja-Kaduna railway line, built by the Chinese, and ongoing works on Lagos, Ibadan, Ilorin, Abuja, Kano railway routes.
He said Nigeria and China were also negotiating on the Mambilla project.
President Buhari advised Nigerians planning to travel abroad for “greener pastures” to do so legitimately and not to expect too much from their countries of destination.
“You cannot seek greener pastures in a place where you are not respected because of the colour of your skin or your lack of education or other things. Personally, I think you will earn more respect when you remain at home and get a job,” he said