*Says security agencies working diligently to ensure adequate security
*Assures INEC will rise to the occasion
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that Nigeria stood as a democracy and that no worldly hand could deter Nigerians from choosing who governed them.
President Buhari who stated this during his national broadcast assured that voting would be done in an atmosphere of openness and peace, devoid of fear from threat or intimidation.
Telling Nigerians not to be afraid to go out and perform their civic responsibility, the President said that security agencies have worked diligently to ensure that adequate security measures were in place.
According to him, “Finally, we have reached the eve of the rescheduled first round of this year’s general elections.
Tomorrow (today), the polls open. We affirm that Nigeria stands as a democracy and that no worldly hand can deter us from this wise and fitting path we have chosen for ourselves.
“While democracy is the most beneficial way to select a nation’s leaders, it is far from the easiest thing to achieve and maintain.
“ It requires a combination of patience, tolerance, compassion, diligence, wisdom and hope. These traits exist in us the Nigerian people. Because of who we are, democracy has the chance to flourish in this land.”
President Buhari commended Nigerians for their patience and peaceful conduct so far during the electoral season, especially during this intervening week following the postponement of the February 16 elections.
He noted that many were worried and thought the worst might happen, adding that such people were proved wrong through the expression of abiding love for peace, democracy and the unity of our country.
Pointing out that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC had embarked on daily public briefings and had said that it was ready and fully prepared to conduct the election in a free, fair and transparent manner, he said INEC realised the profound and weighty duty that rests upon it.
Said he: “We must cast aside doubt and have faith that INEC will rise to the occasion. We must believe and encourage INEC to fulfil and honour this responsibility it owes to our country.
“As your President, I hereby ask all Nigerians with voting cards to participate in defining the future of our nation by exercising your democratic rights tomorrow. I urge you to go out and vote.
“I say this because elections are the cornerstone of representative governance. And voting constitutes the highest and best expression of the sovereign will of the people to choose the government that best represents them. “It is only upon the freely expressed will of the people that government truly dedicated to the welfare, rights and interests of the people can be founded.
“Do not allow anyone to discourage you from the exercise of your rights as citizens and voters tomorrow.
“To vote means that you believe in Nigeria and the excellent things the future holds for this nation and its people.”
President Buhari said despite individual political leanings, “we all believe in Nigeria, in the noble principles for which it stands and in the values we strive for our beloved nation to uphold.
“All who are able, must vote so that we may better perfect this democracy and continue to build the greater nation we seek.
“Do not be afraid of rumours of violence and unrest. Our security agencies have worked diligently to ensure that adequate security measures are in place.
“You will be able to vote in an atmosphere of openness and peace, devoid of fear from threat or intimidation.
“International and domestic monitors and observers are assured of their safety and freedom of movement needed to perform their important functions.”
“As we thank domestic monitors and observers for their contributions to our democracy, we also thank the international groups for the friendship and concern they have demonstrated to our nation.
“We appreciate their efforts in encouraging us to further entrench and strengthen our democracy.
Tomorrow (today) is an encounter with history in which you, the people, shall affirm your collective belief in our national greatness and in our future.
“I ask that you embrace and hold on to the importance of the moment soon to be upon us.
“Honour your civic duty as voters by going to the polls tomorrow to vote for the government of your choice, for the government that will lead Nigeria toward its finest destiny.”