The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on Tuesday, assured that his government would not allow any candidate to use their “personal resources or influence to intimidate other Nigerians” ahead of the next year’s general elections.
He stated that in six months, Nigeria would appreciate his government as it respects their interests.
In a statement made public by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President said this when he received members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum led by its Chairman, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, at the State House, Abuja.
The statement titled ‘Why I believe in non-interference in the political process, Buhari.’, pick pointed the outcome of elections held in Ekiti, Anambra, and Osun state governorship elections. The president vowed to bequeath strong political institutions through free and fair elections.
This, he noted, would give credence to the political process, ensure participation and inclusiveness, and show that the governing party respects the electorate.
The President said, “I want Nigerians to know that we respect them, and for us to show that, we will allow them to vote who they want. We all witnessed what happened in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states. What happened in those states gives me a lot of hope that we are succeeding.
“We will not allow anyone to use personal resources or their influence to intimidate other Nigerians. We will not allow intimidation materially, morally, or physically. This is the kind of leadership that can emerge and consolidate our nation.
“In six months, Nigerians will appreciate the government of the All Progressives Congress that we are sincere and we respect them.’’
He called on the All Progressive Congress (APC) political leaders to fasten their efforts in thinking, meeting and strategizing for the 2023 elections.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the PGF thanked the President for his leadership, that the Nigerian economy had been growing, in spite of challenges.
“We want to congratulate you on the positive trajectory of the economy, with the 3.5% growth in the second quarter, up from 3.1% of the first quarter of this year. Infrastructure projects are ongoing in different parts of the country, and the social intervention programme is expanding,’’ Bagudu stated.
However, the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Debo Olugunagba, said the President’s statement was an acknowledgment of the need to ensure free, fair, and credible elections “without unnecessary interference by money bags.”
Ologunagba stated, “We believe that this election should be based on issues, not about who can purchase who. We know that the leaders and the veterans of the APC, as reported in various media, are always interested in buying votes and trying as much as possible to derail the will of the Nigerian people, either by corruptly buying votes, or unleashing violence, which of course, we have the records.
“So, if the President says that today, that is a welcome development, with the hope that the President will keep his word for once on that, because if his performance in other sectors, particularly security, is anything to go by, then we need to take that statement with a pinch of salt.’’