PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has reassured Nigerians and the international community, especially members of international election observer groups, of their safety during the 2019 general elections which will commence with the presidential and national assembly elections on Saturday.
During his national broadcast on Thursday, Buhari 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, does not represent the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
This is coming following various statements attributed to some politicians and government officials which have been criticised as capable of inciting violence before and during the polls.
“This government will do its very best to ensure that the 2019 elections take place in a secure and peaceful atmosphere. It was this same 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,” Buhari said.
“And as your president and a fellow Nigerian, I ask that you come out and queue to fulfill this important obligation you have to yourselves and your fellow citizens – and to our common future. This is certainly not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive us to desperation.
“I want to make a special appeal to our youths. Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence and destruction. The people who want to incite you are those preparing the grounds for discrediting the elections. Having lost the argument, they fear losing the elections.”
Buhari recounted the successes his administration had achieved so far for which Nigerians should vote for him again. He said that the choice for Nigerians now is to decide “whether we want to continue with real infrastructure development, which is the road to prosperity and jobs or return to the era of ‘stomach infrastructure’”.
Among the many achievements by his administration was the rejuvenation of the agricultural sector through the introduction of several farmer-friendly programmes such as the anchor borrowers scheme for rice farmers, the presidential fertilizer initiative, among others.
Buhari stressed that Saturday’s presidential election “is more than a choice between APC and the opposition. 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,” he said.