Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the country has left the era when votes were awarded and the cheated were told to seek redress in court.
The president said this at the presidential villa in Abuja while receiving members of the Joint United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS Good Offices Mission on elections.
According to him, the 2019 polls would be free and fair, adding the electorate would be allowed to vote whoever they want. He said that:
“I am highly qualified to talk on this, having ended in supreme court three times, after participating in elections with disputed results.
“Where will a man looking for where his next meal would come from, have money to hire lawyers, particularly senior advocates?
“The president has only one vote, governors have a vote each, just like anybody else. Let the people vote for whoever they choose, without their vote not being tampered with.
“Nigeria has left that era in which democratic norms are brazenly subverted, with votes awarded to those favoured by the authorities, and the shortchanged told to go to court if they were not happy”.
According to President Buhari, multi-party democracy gives lots of choice to the people, adding that Nigeria has a vibrant young population “who trust us to handle their affairs and resources well”.
He noted that the 2015 elections were run based on three campaign objectives; securing the country, reviving the economy and fighting corruption.
The president said that the opposition has not succeeded in “faulting us; we are doing our best with the resources available to us”.
Speaking, Jean-Claude Brou, president of ECOWAS commission, said the team came on a solidarity visit to Nigeria ahead of the forthcoming elections.
He appreciated the strong role Nigeria plays in the sub-region, while thanking President Buhari for his strides in the fight against corruption and terrorism.
Speaking on behalf of the United Nations, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, appreciated “the strong leadership of President Buhari in Nigeria, West Africa, and Africa”.
“You’ve always played politics according to the rules. We will do all that we can to strengthen the institutions. We’re convinced that INEC is ready to provide free and fair elections”.