President Muhammadu Buhari has admitted that there is “anxiety in the air” as the country prepares to elect a new President on Saturday.
This formed part of his remarks at the signing of a peace accord on the 2019 presidential election, held at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, on Wednesday.
Buhari expressed excitement that more women and youth candidates showed interest in taking up elective positions in the 2019 elections, just as he urged all candidates to commit to the ideals of a peaceful electoral process.
He further restated his commitment to ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
THE FULL SPEECH
Another election is upon us and not unexpectedly, there is anxiety in the air. This is typical of any form of competition and contest, no matter how well prepared all contestants and regulators are. The forthcoming elections are very special and significant for the growth of our Democracy.
First, they come immediately after one of the most peaceful elections in the history of our country. I am not saying this because I was blessed to emerge as the winner. I am saying there had been a lot of fears and anxieties from within and outside Nigeria about the future of the country. We are hopeful that this is evidence that we are all maturing in our disposition towards electoral outcomes. We see this as an opportunity to grow our sense of political culture in Nigeria.
Secondly, we are witnessing an exciting development in the area of the engagement of our Youth and Women in the democratic process. Hitherto, these groups have often not been in the mainstream of our political competition. It is in appreciation of their contribution that we passed the Not Too Young to Run Bill last year. The success of the Act is illustrated by the unprecedented number of young men and women who have stepped forward to participate in this process as Candidates at all levels. Significantly, we have witnessed also the emergence of Women as Candidates across the political space.
Thirdly, these elections are taking place against the backdrop of the emergence of an unprecedented number of Political Parties. As of now, we have 91 Political Parties, out of which over 70 fielded Presidential Candidates. Although some Candidates have dropped out of the race, there is no doubt in our minds that our country is moving forward and that our democracy is expanding and also deepening.
I call on all Nigerians to contribute to the building of a viable polity by more active participation well beyond the mere casting of votes. Elections by themselves do not constitute Democracy. It is the spirit of citizenship engagement that utilizes the energy of citizens towards the attainment of good governance.
We have assembled here to mark the final phase of our campaigns and we are now at the doorstep of our elections. The Campaigns so far have gone well and we thank God for that. For the few incidents in which people lost their lives largely through accidents, we pray that God grants them eternal peace. Now campaigns are over and our next assignment is for us all, citizens and contestants alike, to go out and exercise our civic duties.
We, the Presidential candidates are here to sign and commit ourselves to do all that is possible to ensure the success of the elections but most importantly to accept the final outcome. I appeal to my fellow contestants to commit to these ideals so as to keep our country and people safe. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, our electoral Umpire, has already assured us that they have done everything possible to ensure free and fair elections.
It was to ensure this that I made sure that INEC received all the resources they needed to perform their job. Our Security Agencies have been fully briefed and they know that their visible neutrality is key to the conduct, credibility and success of the elections.
To the Rt. Honourable Patricia Scotland, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, we extend our felicitations and welcome to you. Your presence here and your friendship mean a lot to us as a country. To the Members of the Diplomatic Corps, the International Team of Monitors, again, I say, welcome to Nigeria and thank you very much for standing by us. Your presence helps to validate our process and commitment to growing our Democracy.
I want to thank General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Chairman of the National Peace Committee and all his members for the hard work they have put into ensuring that our Elections are peaceful. Your great work contributed significantly in shaping the 2015 elections and we are sure that the same impact will be felt in these elections.
To all our citizens, I want to thank you. As we go into the elections in few days, please let us pray for our country. Let us use this opportunity to strengthen our beliefs in a united country. Our elections are important only to the extent that they make our country peaceful and prepare us for development.
I am making a special appeal to our young people: Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence. Please eschew all forms of violence and cooperate with all the relevant agencies during these elections. We will vote according to Parties, but in the end, the only real Party is Nigeria, our country. Our elections are important only to the extent that they make her strong. Let us do our best and ask God to bless us and our country.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nigerian Army Threatens To Deal Decisively With Political Thugs In Niger Delta – Lifestylenaija | Breaking Celebrity Gist | Lifestyle | Entertainments
The Nigerian Army has warned that it would deal decisively with any political thugs that disrupt activities at polling centres during Saturday’s rescheduled general elections in the Niger Delta.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Deputy Director Army Public Relations Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, said the warning follows information made available to the headquarters, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, of a plan to perpetrate crime in some areas in the Niger Delta region.
Iliyasu said, “Credible intelligence available to Headquarters 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) has uncovered an unholy plan by some political actors within its Area of Responsibility (AOR) to arm and sponsor miscreants in addition to using military-like fatigue dress for deception to cause pandemonium at polling stations for their political gain.”
According to him, “covert efforts are on-going to track the source of the weapons and the agents involved in conjunction with sister security agencies”.
The army spokesperson further stated that anyone found disrupting the electoral process would be dealt with according to the law.
While assuring the people of adequate security for the people of the Niger Delta region during and after the elections, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Maj. Gen Jamil Sarham, thanked the people for what he described as their cooperation and assistance to the Division, particularly in the area of information dissemination.
The warning from the army follows President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to security agencies to “deal ruthlessly” with ballot box snatchers during the general elections.
The order which the President on Monday said he gave, has triggered outrage among Nigerians, especially from the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, which has described the comments as insensitive.
No Commissioner Or Director Was Arrested, Says INEC Boss – Lifestylenaija | Breaking Celebrity Gist | Lifestyle | Entertainments
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied the report that one of its national commissioners was arrested by security operatives.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, faulted the claim during a briefing on measures put in place by INEC towards conducting credible elections after the polls were shifted.
“No Commissioner of the Commission was picked up by any security agency,” he said in response to a question on the report on Tuesday in Abuja.
“No house of any Commissioner of INEC was raided,” Professor Yakubu added. “No any Commissioner of INEC has been picked up by the security agency.”
The INEC boss disclosed that the commissioner whose name was being circulated in the social media was in his office at the time when he gave the briefing.
He also condemned the report that six directors were picked up by security operatives, stressing that nothing of such happened.
Professor Yakubu further cautioned politicians against speaking in a manner that would overheat the polity and political atmosphere.
Earlier, he offered his regrets over the postponement of the elections and assured Nigerians that the electoral body under his leadership was working towards conducting credible elections.
As part of measures to ensure that the polls were conducted on the rescheduled dates, the INEC boss revealed that all materials including ballot papers and result sheets were already at the expected locations across the country.
He also said Registration Area Centres (RATs) for the elections would be activated by 9:00am on Friday across the nation.
Professor Yakubu, however, warned officials of the commission and ad-hoc staff against going late to their duty posts.
“Personnel and materials should be at the RATs by mid-day on Friday,” he said.
“Personnel and materials must arrive at the polling units latest 7:00am on Saturday 23 February 2019, and the opening of polls nationwide will take place at 8:00 in the morning on Saturday 23 February 2019.”
‘You Have No Role In The Conduct Of Elections’, Atiku Tells Military – Lifestylenaija | Breaking Celebrity Gist | Lifestyle | Entertainments
The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, says the military has no role to play in the conduct of elections.
He said this on Tuesday during the party’s NEC meeting in Abuja, while responding to comments made by President Muhammadu Buhari’s on the snatching of ballot boxes.
Speaking at the APC caucus meeting on Monday, the President had ordered security agencies to “deal ruthlessly” with anyone who attempts to snatch ballot box during the rescheduled general elections.
Atiku, however, believes that the president’s order is a result of his desperation to remain in power.
He, therefore, adviced President Buhari that his ambitions should not be worth the blood of any Nigerian, while also reminding the military that their duty remains to protect the nation.
Atiku said, “You will recall that during the Peace Accord process, I stated in clear terms, quoting form former president Jonathan Goodluck, that my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
“That man is a great man.
“Today I call on President Buhari to make that same commitment to the people whose mandate he holds, while also urging all security agencies to uphold our Constitution with an understanding that voting is a civil activity and civic responsibility.
“The Nigerian military is constitutionally responsible for protecting our territorial integrity and national borders and has no role to play in the conduct of elections.”