President Buhari assures of non-interference in 2019 elections

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians and the International community that his government will uphold the principle of non-interference in the process of elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) even as he assured of adequate security for Nigerian voters during the 2019 elections.

President Buhari gave this assurance while giving his address during the opening ceremony of “Election Security Management Workshop” organized by the office of the National Security Adviser in collaboration with Solar Security Consult Company and Partners West Africa, with the theme “Pathway to a Credible Electoral Process in Nigeria,” held in Abuja on Thursday.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, President Buhari reaffirmed his commitment to “promoting free, fair credible elections that are devoid of any form of interference in the activities of INEC and to ensure a violence-free election and abide by the extant laws governing the political landscape.”

The president noted that no nation can advance its democratic culture under a security orientation that does not assure the voters of their personal safety and the safety of their votes in the electoral process. He added that the task of ensuring this rests squarely on the shoulders of the Nigeria police as the lead security agency under the Electoral Act and other complementary security agencies including the armed forces.

“The initiative of the National Security Adviser to organize this workshop is therefore a right and well- informed action that would undoubtedly advance our vision in this regard. I therefore commend the office of the National Security Adviser for this innovative workshop,” he said.

He said that lots of positive changes have been implemented in Nigeria’s electoral law and processes in a bid to strengthen electoral culture and ensure that voters are not disenfranchised either by actions or inactions of actors or institutions that are constitutional charged with the responsibility of driving the process.

“As we draw further to the 2019 elections, I want to reaffirm my commitment toward further entrenching these democratic values. I am committed to upholding the independence of INEC as this is a sacred pathway towards our democracy,” he said.

He also assured the nation of his determination to sustain the standards set in the nation’s electoral process, adding that he would continually extend all requisite support to INEC in order to ensure the attainment of their mandate without any executive interference.

“The will of the people must always drive the democratic process of our nation therefore the sanctity of the process must be upheld by all political parties and other stakeholders across the political divide if the country is to attain its full potentials.

“It is recognized that the success of the electoral process depends largely on the professionalism demonstrated by the security agencies. I am committed to ensuring that all security agencies perform their constitutional obligations in a strictly professional and impartial manner. So I will guarantee the security of all citizens particularly during electoral engagement,” he said.

 President Buhari noted that despite some challenges, the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu and his commissioners have demonstrated competence and strength of character even as he expressed confidence in the ability of INEC to surmount these challenges and guide the nation to a successful election. “I assure the international community that Nigeria shall continue to advance the democratic credential within the global space” the President said.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser, (NSA) Babagana Muguno, said that the workshop was organized to create new security orientation that is focused on creating a conducive atmosphere for citizens to exercise their voting rights, adding that the security agencies will exercise neutrality during the elections.

The workshop attracted top officials of the police, army, Nigerian Security and Defence Corps, the Nigerian Customs, Fire Service, among others.

 

Innocent Odoh, Abuja

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