From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, told the West African Elders Forum Pre-Election Mediation Mission that the 2023 general elections would be free, fair, credible and that manipulations of any kind will not be tolerated.
He stated this while playing host to sub-regional elders forum led by former Sierra Leonean President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma at the State House, Abuja.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as citing the off-season elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States, as pointer to the fact that the Federal Government would allow people to choose the leaders that they want.
“That right is guaranteed. 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.”
Koroma, who led a team made up 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 parties, civil societies, and Independent National Electoral Commission, among others ahead of next year’s polls.
He commended Buhari for making it clear both locally and internationally that the elections would be free and fair.
He also lauded the Nigerian president for not listening to voices that may have tried to convince him to seek a third term in office, against the laws of the country, saying “other countries look up to Nigeria for direction.”
He urged 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.