THE Presidency on Monday assured of a free and fair election in 2019, citing the United Nation’s (UN) prediction that 2019 elections in Nigeria will be credible and violent free.
Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu made the declaration in a statement he made available to the media in Abuja.
He observed that the UN’s prediction which he said was made in a television interview by a representative of the world body, “is yet another indication of the world’s confidence in Nigeria’s current administration.
The presidential aide expressed pleasure at the world body’s accurate observation of the trends in President Buhari’s government, which could only lead down the path of free and fair elections come 2019.
He said: “The Buhari government doesn’t believe in cheap propaganda. It’s not about responding to the attacks, false allegations and insinuations of the PDP or of the still very active media machinery of the previous government.
“We believe in taking active steps to ensure that the future of Nigeria is better than it is today and we are glad to see that the United Nations has acknowledged this.”
He noted that during the Tv interview, Head of UN Office for West Africa, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambers, had pointed out the credible and peaceful local elections that have so far taken place in different states across Nigeria, and used this as one of the indices to judge what to expect for the presidential elections in 2019.
“Under the government of President Buhari, a number of credible elections have been conducted in states and local governments across Nigeria and, so far, there has been no cause for fear or worry,” Garba said.
He added that the 2015 elections which saw the historic election of President Buhari – the first time in Nigeria and one of the rare occasions in Africa when an incumbent was soundly defeated in an election – were credible simply because of the presence and diligence of Professor Attahiru Jega.
He added: “At one of its meetings, the Council of States last year put on record the appreciation of the nation for the conduct of the 2015 elections and commended the leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega as Chairman of the Commission for bringing that about.
“In addition to the steadfastness of the INEC, the ECOWAS, AU, EU, UN and other international bodies also had to be on guard to ensure that there was no opportunity for the kind of foolishness we saw at the INEC collation center from people in the circle of power to flourish.
“But, in 2019, the international community will have nothing to fear, and I am happy that the UN can already sense that several months in advance.”
Former Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Reno Omokri, had raised an alarm on Sunday that the Buhari administration may not conduct a free and fair election given its tendency to silent its opponents.
In a letter to the international community titled, “President Buhari Has Neither The Intention Nor Capacity to Hold Credible Election,” Omokri had said: “I write to warn the international community of a clear and present danger to democracy in Nigeria in the person of President Muhammadu Buhari, a pseudo fascist leader who is taking Nigeria the way of Venezuela.
“As Nigeria prepares for another round of Presidential elections, President Buhari has unleashed the fascist in him by taking steps to undermine democracy.
“Two prominent opponents of the President have indicated interest in contesting the Presidential elections of 2019.”