Against the backdrop of tension caused by comments of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, President Muhamamdu Buhari on Thursday assured foreign election observers accredited to cover the 2019 general election of their safety.
The President who gave the assurance in a nationwide broadcast ahead of the elections, reaffirmed federal government’s commitment to ensuring the safety of the election observers and the voters
“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 do not represent the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The President who noted that it was such free, fair and peaceful elections that made it possible for his administration to emerge in 2015, added that “ 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.
“Let me at this point, reaffirm the commitment of the Federal Government to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates.
Nasir El-Rufai, It will be recalled had while appearing as a guest on NTA on Tuesday February 5th said “Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that will come and intervene. They will go back in body bags because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country”
The Governor was reacting to statements allegedly credited to foreign representatives, UK, US and EU on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The foreign representatives had in different statements released on January 26th, said the suspension of Onnoghen few weeks to the general election, will cast doubts on the credibility of the elections.
But the President said Government has a critical role in maintaining the democratic traditions, so do citizens.
“I therefore urge you all, as good Nigerians, to take a personal interest in promoting and maintaining peace in your respective neighbourhoods during the elections. This is certainly not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive us to desperation.
President Buhari in the broadcast, also appealed to the youths not allow themselves to be used to cause violence and destruction, adding that “ the people who want to incite you are those preparing the ground for discrediting the elections. Having lost the argument, they fear losing the elections.”