President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians, local and foreign observers to have faith in the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct tomorrow’s rescheduled presidential and National Assembly polls without hitches.
In a television and radio broadcast to the nation this morning, Buhari said he believed INEC had learnt from the mistakes of the past and was fully ready to deliver the elections and the subsequent ones after Saturday’s.
He said, “According to 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 doubt 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. I urge you to go out and vote.”
The President acknowledged that, democracy, being the best form of government, had its own challenges, calling on all to be patient to see the exercise ahead through.
“Tomorrow, the polls open. Tomorrow, we affirm that Nigeria stands as a democracy and that no worldly hand can deter us from this wise and fitting path we have chosen for ourselves.
“While democracy is the most beneficial way to select a nation’s leaders, it is far from the easiest thing to achieve and maintain.
“It requires a combination of patience, tolerance, compassion, diligence, wisdom and hope. These traits exist in us the Nigerian people. Because of who we are, democracy has the chance to flourish in this land.”
He observed that though many had thought that the postponement of the polls initially from February 16 to February 23 would spell doom for the nation, he was elated that Nigerians stood firm and focussed.
Buhari 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.
“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. To vote means that you believe in Nigeria and the excellent things the future holds for this nation and its people.
“No matter our political leanings, we all believe in Nigeria, in the noble principles for which it stands and in the values we strive for our 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.
“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.
“You will be able to vote in an atmosphere of openness and peace, devoid of fear from threat or intimidation.”
Speaking on security, peace and safety during the polls, the President assured both local and international observers that there would be adequate security.