President Muhammadu Buhari has on Sunday boasted that he was not afraid of free and fair elections in 2019.
Buhari has said that as a beneficiary of free and fair elections, he is not afraid of a credible process in 2019. Speaking at an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community in China, Sunday September 2nd, President Buhari pledged that Nigerians eligible to vote in the next general elections will be allowed to freely elect candidates of their choice.
Disclosing his ordeal, Buhari opined that “I know what I went through, I tried four times… and the fourth time technology came and helped us and people’s vote counted”. Recall also that the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP had vowed to win the forthcoming 2019 presidential election.
The President promised that he would ensure that the 2019 polls, under his watch, would be free, fair and credible.
He pledged that the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agents will allow Nigerians eligible to vote in the next general elections to freely elect candidates of their choice.
Mr President urged Nigerians in China to support his administration and vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general election.
I know what I went through and very few Nigerians could boast of trying four times (contesting for the Presidency).
Buhari charged Nigerian students on scholarship in China to ensure that they made the best use of the opportunity, and said that Nigeria was grateful to China for extending “this generosity to us”.
‘‘The Chinese are helping Nigeria greatly with building infrastructure; it is very much appreciated. We are pleased with the training they are providing for Nigerian students.”
The president also met with the executives of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), during which he lauded the construction group for their immense contributions to infrastructure development in Nigeria.
“Those interested in participating in the elections must get their PVCs, register in their constituency and elect anybody of their choice across ethnicity and religion.
“The Nigerian police, law enforcement agencies and INEC must respect the right of the people to express their wishes.”
Citing recent elections in Bauchi, Katsina and Kogi States, the President said the country had made progress relative to elections conducted in the past years.
On security issues, the President reaffirmed that his government has succeeded in curtailing Boko Haram insurgents in the country.
‘You will all recall that we contested the last election basically on three issues, which includes security, especially in the North East. The Boko Haram used to occupy quite a number of local governments in Borno State but they are not in any one now. They have resorted to a very dangerous way of terrorism by indoctrinating young people, mostly girls and attacking soft targets, churches, mosques and marketplaces,’’ he said.
On herders and farmers clashes in Nigeria, the President told Nigerians in the Diaspora that while security agencies are doing their best to curtail the clashes, the Nigerian media need to complement the efforts through objective and informed reportage.
The President appealed to the Nigerian media to make an attempt at understanding the cultural and historical implications of some of the misunderstanding between herders and farmers.
‘‘To my disappointment, the members of the press in Nigeria do not make enough efforts to study the historical antecedents of issues that are creating national problems for us,’’ he said.
According to the president, due to the effects of climate change, a farm that used to belong to five people now belongs to 50 people, the weather condition, particularly the rainy season, is now unpredictable.
He partly blamed the farmers/herders controversy on the shrinking of the Lake Chad, which had forced many cattle nomads to seek greener pastures for their herds in other parts of the country.
On Nigeria-China relations, Buhari lauded China’s generosity and contribution to the development of Nigeria, citing the successful completion of Abuja-Kaduna railway line, built by the Chinese, and ongoing works on Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin-Abuja-Kano railway route.
According to him, Nigeria and China are also negotiating on the Mambilla project.
The president advised Nigerians planning to travel abroad for ‘‘greener pastures’’ to do so legitimately and not to expect too much from their countries of destination.
‘‘You cannot seek greener pastures in a place where you are not respected because of the colour of your skin or your lack of education or other things.
“Personally, I think you will earn more respect when you remain at home and get a job,’’ he added.
He acknowledged the material and intellectual support of Nigerians in the Diaspora to the development of the country, and assured that his administration would remain focused and committed in providing needed infrastructure for Nigeria’s prosperity.
Earlier in his remarks, the Nigerian Ambassador to China, Baba Ahmed-Jidda, had thanked the President for his support to the Embassy, including the completion of the Ambassador’s official residence.
He praised Nigerians resident in the various provinces of China for being law-abiding, with the exception of few.