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Edo Poll: Buhari again waxes rhetorical on election fraud

...Says free and fair elections is his main concern, but fails to sign electoral bill

NIGERIAN President, Muhammadu Buhari says conducting free and fair elections in Nigeria is one of his main concerns for the country’s democracy ahead of the 2020 Edo gubernatorial elections.

But the president, three times,  has refused to sign the electoral bill into law. The bill prescribes swift prosecution of election violence and vote-buying perpetrators by setting up special courts, among other provisions.

Instead, the President, in a statement on Thursday signed by Femi Adesina, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, expressed his frustration at achieving electoral integrity.

“Conducting a free and fair election is one of my main concerns for our democracy and I want this commitment to be one of the legacies I will leave behind when I depart office,” Buhari said.

He called on political parties and their candidates as well as security agents participating in the Edo governorship election to uphold democratic standards during the poll.

“I am passionately committed to free and fair elections, but my own commitment is not enough if other actors at ground zero refuse to abide by the rules.

“I want to see democratic standards in the country raised higher at every level, but these cannot be achieved when politicians resort to do or die methods to gain power by any means or machination,” the President said.

Buhari urged the participant and stakeholders in the election to desist from actions that could undermine the integrity of the polls.

According to the statement, the President wishes to see an upgrade in democratic standard in the country but these may be unachievable if the political actors do not desist from the do-or-die method.

“I want to see democratic standards in the country raised higher at every level, but these cannot be achieved when politicians resort to do or die methods to gain power by any means or machination.

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Buhari noted the threat posed by do or die mentality to the conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria.

“The do-or-die mentality to politics is a threat to free and fair elections because the actors are more focused on winning than caring about a fair outcome that reflects the will of the people,” Buhari added.

The opposition is often unpersuaded by the president rhetorics on the election.

In 2019, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has alleged that Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari is not committed to free, fair and credible elections.

President Buhari declined to assent to the electoral (Amendment Bill in December 2018 after rejecting the bill on three previous occasions.

 

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