Nobody will intimidate voters, assures Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari. PHOTO: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

Returns To Daura For Today’s Elections
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to come out massively and vote for the candidates of their choice in today’s presidential election, assuring that nobody will intimidate them.

The President spoke yesterday in a nationwide broadcast ahead of today’s rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections across the country.

In his second broadcast after the sudden shift of the polls by the country’s electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the President, who is the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said: “Do not be afraid of rumours of violence and unrest. Our security agencies have worked diligently to ensure that adequate security measures are in place.”

He assured voters that they would be able to perform their civic responsibilities in an atmosphere of openness and peace, devoid of fear from threats or intimidation, adding: “International and domestic monitors and observers are assured of their safety and freedom of movement needed to perform their important functions.

“As we thank domestic monitors and observers for their contributions to our democracy, we also thank the international groups for the friendship and concern they have demonstrated to our nation.”

The President appreciated the efforts of international observers in encouraging Nigeria to further entrench and strengthen its democracy, saying: “Tomorrow (today) is an encounter with history in which you, the people, shall affirm your collective belief in our national greatness and in our future. I ask that you embrace and hold on to the importance of the moment soon to be upon us.

“Honour your civic duty as voters by going to the polls tomorrow to vote for the government of your choice, for the government that will lead Nigeria towards its finest destiny.

“As citizens there is no greater duty than this and no greater honour. Tomorrow (today), I know you will once again make Nigeria proud of its people.”

Buhari explained that to vote means that citizens believe in Nigeria and the excellent things the future holds for the nation and its people, stating: “No matter the political leanings, every citizen believes in Nigeria, in the noble principles for which it stands and in the values that people strive for the beloved nation to uphold.

“All who are able must vote so that we may better perfect this democracy and continue to build the greater nation we seek.”

The President commended Nigerians for their patience and peaceful conduct so far during this electoral season and “especially during this intervening week following the postponement of the February 16 elections.

He said: “Many were worried and thought the worst might happen. You proved them wrong by showing that you are a great people with an abiding love for peace, democracy and the unity of our country.”

According to him, in the daily INEC public briefings given this week, the Electoral Commission says it is ready and fully prepared to conduct the election in a free, fair and transparent manner.

“I believe INEC realises the profound and weighty duty that rests upon it. We must cast aside doubts and have faith that INEC will rise to the occasion. We must believe and encourage INEC to fulfill and honour this responsibility it owes to our country.

“As your President, I hereby ask all Nigerians with voting cards to participate in defining the future of our nation by exercising your democratic rights tomorrow (today). I urge you to go out and vote.

“I say this because elections are the cornerstone of representative governance. And voting constitutes the highest and best expression of the sovereign will of the people to choose the government that best represents them.

“It is only upon the freely expressed will of the people that government truly dedicated to the welfare, rights and interests of the people can be founded. Do not allow anyone to discourage you from the exercise of your rights as citizens and voters tomorrow (today).”

Meanwhile, unlike last Sunday, February 17, when he returned to Katsina from Daura by road, the President, yesterday, arrived at Daura, his hometown, via a presidential helicopter at about 3.50pm for participation in today’s rescheduled elections. He could not use the helicopter last week because of the harmattan haze that made the sky cloudy.

Twenty-five minutes earlier, the presidential aircraft convening the President, his wife, Aisha, and some of his aides, had landed at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport, Katsina.

Buhari was received at the airport by Governor Aminu Masari, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, members of the National Assembly from the state, heads of federal government agencies in the state and other government officials.

Today in Daura, Buhari, as the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), is expected to join other voters at Kofar Baru 003 polling unit in Sarkin Yara Ward to cast his vote.

A total of 3,187,988 voters, representing 98 per cent of a total of 3.2 million registered voters in the state, are expected to participate in the elections.

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