Ben Dunno, Warri
Amid the controversies trailing President Muhamadu Buhari’s decline to assent to the amended Electoral Act, he has allay fears that his refusal was not to encourage manipulation of the electoral process, insisting that he is not in any way desperate to remain in power against the wish of the people.
President Buhari made this clarification in a goodwill message delivered on his behalf by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, at the 3rd coronation anniversary of the Olu of Warri, Ogiamme Ikenwoli, held in Warri. He reaffirmed his commitment to a peaceful and transparent process in which every Nigerian would be free to exercise their voting rights.
Dr. Kachikwu noted that the president never sees next year’s elections as a ‘do or die,’describing him as a man who is more than ever committed to good governance and peaceful coexistence of the nation.
“The President as a peace-loving man who strongly believes in the corporate existence of the nation, has assured severally (that he would) accept the outcome of the 2019 general elections based on his conviction that leadership position is a call to serve the people in whatever capacity one is being elected.”
He urged all Nigerians to be rest assured of a transparent democratic process that would ensure a free, fair and credible process in the build up to the 2019 general elections.
In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, expressed the need to reach out to other ethnic groups in the country in order to foster unity, love and peaceful coexistence among the Nigerian people.
He admonished the political class on the significance of peace and good governance as twin factors that must complement each other if it is truly sincere about delivering the dividends of democracy to the electorate.
While applauding the rich-cultural heritage of the various ethnic groups in the country, especially the colorful dresses and dance of the Itsekiri people, the Sultan noted that these had become our strength as they further unite Nigerians as one people rather than divide them.
On the 2019 general elections, the Sultan urged the electorate to be weary of politicians who would come out to make empty promises they could never keep and counseled the people to use their votes wisely to elect leaders who would better their lots as a people.
He condemned the act of vote-buying during elections and advised the electorate not to mortgage their conscience for the token they would be given to sell their votes on election days, stating that by so doing they will also mortgage the future of their children.
He called for prayers for the leaders for God to guide and lead them right in making critical decisions about the future of the nation as Nigeria is the only country Nigerians have as a people.
He also decried the poor state of development of Warri and urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was present on the occasion, and Dr. Kachikwu to convey to the Federal government, the need to develop the area.
In his speech, Dr Okowa, extolled the peaceful disposition of the Olu of Warri, Ogiamme Ikenwoli, which he noted had helped in sustaining peaceful coexistence in the area and its environs.
He said that his administration has laudable programmes and expected to complete some major road projects within Warri and its environs as captured in the state’s 2019 budget.
Earlier in his address, the host, Ikenwoli, drew the attention of both the state and Federal governments to some very critical projects that needed to be carried out in his domain, to further boost the nation’s GDP, job creation, gas exploitation and utilisation, foreign exchange earnings and other economic benefits.