President Muhammadu Buhari has formally reacted to the release of the 2019 election timetable and schedule of activities by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, warning actors in the political space against a resort to violence in an attempt to sway electoral support, or in the event that they are rejected at the polls.
President Buhari spoke Thursday in Abuja while delivering a keynote address at the 15th Daily Trust Dialogue which had as its theme, ‘Nigeria and the Challenges of 2019’. This was as he said his election as president in 2015 was a reflection of the will of Nigerians, a position that was immediately denounced by one of the three key speakers and former Governor of Jigawa state, Sule Lamido who posited that the 2015 elections were defined by the “lies and propaganda of a coalition of desperate politicians” under the aegis of the All Progressives Congress APC. “The elections that ushered the ‘change’ government into power in 2015 reflected the will of the Nigerian people and was widely acclaimed as transparent and peaceful.
“From Umuahia to Damaturu, Jalingo to Osogbo, our people queued for long hours at their polling units and kept vigil as election officials tabulated their votes. And then the big one: the then outgoing president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan historically set the tone for future political conduct in the country by graciously accepting defeat in a keenly contested race”, the president recalled. He said the election timetable is a reminder to politicians and other stakeholders that the 2019 general elections were fast approaching. Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, the president said his predecessor, President Goodluck Jonathan by his actions in 2015, had already set the tone for decent political conduct in the country.
“I also call on politicians and political parties to pledge their commitment to the peaceful democratic process by urging their supporters to respect the electoral process and restrain them from violence. All aggrieved parties should seek redress through constitutional means and respect for the rule of law. “On our part, I want to assure Nigerians that my administration will not condone any violence, support any individual or groups that undermine citizens’ confidence in the ability of the country’s political institutions to conduct peaceful and successful elections”, he said.