President Muhammadu Buhari says free, fair and credible elections are the foundation of political stability and peace in any nation, assuring that he will leave a legacy of free and fair elections.
The president said this when he inaugurated the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council in Abuja on Monday.
He noted that the quality of elections since 2015 had continued to improve with declining levels of problems that had defined elections in the past.
“We have insisted that votes must count and have maintained a policy of non-interference in elections.
“INEC has so far since 2015, conducted fair and credible elections in 195 constituencies nationwide, which have been attested nationwide to be qualitatively better than previous elections.
“Let me reiterate my commitment to free and fair elections. If there is one legacy I want to leave is the enthronement of democracy as a system of government. And for democracy to be enthroned, elections must be free and fair.
“That means citizens have a right to vote for candidates of their choice without intimidation in any form. I have warned INEC and security agencies to that effect.
“We will keep insisting that votes must count. Our campaigns will be anchored on our performance in the last four years,’’ he said.
The president observed that the APC had succeeded in taking Nigeria to a new level of enduring peace, economic growth political stability, justice and progress.
“This is the new level we are promising Nigerians, the details of which we will take to Nigerians as we embark on our campaigns.’’
Buhari also urged all aggrieved members of the APC to recommit themselves to the central task of the party’s victory in the forthcoming elections and to the greater goal of uplifting this nation toward its manifest destiny.
“Having waited for all the dust raised by the nomination exercise, and the carefully worked out reconciliation processes to ensure some measure of healing, we are better placed to put together an all-inclusive campaign council, that will effectively engage the entire voting public throughout the length and breadth of our federation, and deliver a resounding victory for us at the general elections,’’ he added.
He said that the Presidential Campaign Council was constituted with a conscious determination to ensure inclusiveness and excellence.
“To this end, the council is expected to conduct a campaign based on the party’s modest achievements to turn around our beleaguered nation from insecurity, stagnation and massive abuse of scarce public resources.
“Nigerians voted us into power in 2015 because they put trust and confidence that we will make a great difference.
“We are now building on the experience of our successful outing in the 2015 elections.
“It is my hope that this wonderful team put together will anchor our campaigns to lead our party and its candidates to victory in the general elections in a few weeks’ time.’’
According to the president, a victory for the APC is a victory for all well-meaning Nigerians, who are committed to change from an inglorious past; where those in positions of public trust willfully took for themselves what belonged to all.
He further frowned at the 16 years of the defunct People’s Democratic Party (PDP) administration where the security of the citizens was relegated to second place to their acquisition of unwholesome wealth; where the economic growth was sacrificed for the fleeting ease of import dependency.
Buhari noted that his administration in the last three years and six months had reversed the downward slide “that the PDP took us in its 16 years of misrule’’.
“We have restored the territorial integrity of our nation, thanks to our gallant men and women of our armed forces.
“We are systematically engaged in all the remaining corridors of insurgency, kidnappings, robberies, herdsmen and farmers clashes.
“We have reset our national values: corruption is no longer condoned and is no longer seen as normal for public office holders. The agencies of government are no longer equivocal in dealing with anyone who flouts our laws.
The high and low are receiving jail terms, loots are being recovered, and Nigerians are increasingly displaying the timeless values of honesty, honour and decency.
“I congratulate us all for making these changes possible.
“Our economy has become a prudently managed enterprise. Our resources are now working for us, as we ensure the delivery of key national infrastructure, which were left unattended over these past years.’’
He revealed that the direct impact of his administration’s policies on improvements in roads, railways, and power supply were evident, adding that there was greater evidence of economic diversification seen in growing local production of agricultural produce and solid minerals.
“Our government has succeeded in the last four years in halting national drift, removing the shadow of insecurity and fear dominating our life and reviving our economy from decline to stability and growth.
“The macroeconomic health of our economy, indicated by several measurable factors such as a stable exchange rate, lower inflation, growing foreign reserves, has been applauded by independent local and international rating agencies,’’ the president said.