President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said elections are now difficult to rig in Nigeria.
The President stated this at State House, Abuja, while playing host to West African Elders Forum Pre-Election Mediation Mission, led by former Sierra Leonean President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma.
He restated that the 2023 general elections would be free, fair and credible, as manipulations would not be allowed in any form.
“Thank you for accepting to do this service for our sub-region,” the President told his guests, citing off-season elections held in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States, as pointer to the fact that the Federal Government would allow people to choose leaders they want.
“That right is guaranteed,” President Buhari said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
“We are settling down, and making progress. People should vote whoever they want, in whatever party. We shall not allow anyone to use money and thugs to intimidate the people. Nigerians know better now, they are wiser, and know that it is better to dialogue than to carry weapons. Elections are even more difficult to rig now.”
Former President Koroma, who led a team made of Fatoumata Tambajang, former Vice President of The Gambia, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, former Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, and Ann Iyonu, Executive Director of Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, said they had met with stakeholders across the parties, civil society, and Independent National Electoral Commission, among others, “and we commend you for making it clear both locally and internationally that the elections would be free and fair.”
He commended President Buhari for not listening to voices that might have tried to convince him to seek a third term in office, against the laws of the country, noting that “other countries look up to Nigeria for direction.”
“When we had issues in Sierra Leone and Liberia, it was Nigeria that came in to stabilise the system,” the former President said.
He urged President Buhari to look into other areas of concern as raised by the stakeholders, including security, and “issues that may cast doubts on the clarity and credibility of the elections.”