President Muhammadu Buhari has said that all will be done to ensure that the results of the 2019 general elections reflect the will of the people.
He said Nigerians reserved the right to elect leaders at various levels in 2019 and that all efforts would be made to safeguard the integrity of the process.
The president, who is seeking a second term as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said this while receiving letter of credence from the Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Dr. Jyrki Juhani Pulkkinen.
“I respect the people’s feelings. I assure all that we will have free and fair elections next year,” the president said, adding that he understood the yearnings of Nigerians and strongly believed in their collective dream for a greater country.
Daily Trust reports that the presidential election is slated to hold on February 16, 2019, exactly 70 days from today.
He congratulated Finland on its 101 independence anniversary which was marked yesterday, December 6, and commended its growing relation with Nigeria, especially in areas of Information Communication Technology (ICT), trade and education.
The ambassador said the areas of mutual benefit in relation with Nigeria could be extended to electricity, smart technology and crisis management initiatives, pointing out that he would work hard to improve the trade figures and exchanges.
“We will like to contribute to Africa rising, and we know that Nigeria is the biggest country on the continent; so we are very interested in the growth of Nigeria,” he said.
At the level of the United Nations (UN), Dr. Pulkkinen said his country would continue to support the restructuring of the multilateral institution to give greater roles to African countries like Nigeria.
Buhari, who also received letter of credence from the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Pasquier, said the French president’s visit to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and the stopover in Lagos, was really impressive in bolstering both countries’ relations.
The president said he was impressed with relations between France and its former colonies in Africa, noting that France continued to play positive roles in promoting security and economic growth in the countries.
“France is investing so much in Nigeria, and we are grateful,” he added.
Buhari, however, called for more support in the fight against terrorism as the network kept expanding with fighters moving across borders to support insurgents.
The French ambassador said President Macron would continue to support Nigeria, especially in the ongoing war against terrorism with specific interest in gathering and sharing of intelligence.
He commended the president for Nigeria’s role in resolving the crises in Togo and Guinea Bissau.
President Buhari equally received Letter of Credence from the Ambassador of Czech Republic to Nigeria, Mr. Marek Skolil, assuring him of improved economic relations in areas like solid minerals exploration.
Mr. Skolil said his country would continue to support Nigeria’s military in the fight against terrorism in the North East.
Daily Trust reports that this is not the first time President Buhari would be reassuring the country and the international community of his commitment to credible elections.
The president had during a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in Abuja in August promised to ensure free and fair elections in 2019.
He equally reassured voters that next year’s elections would be free and fair after the opposition and international observers raised concerns over the conduct of governorship election in Osun State in October.
However, the president’s reassurance yesterday came days after the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) told the United Nations that the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) were planning to scuttle the 2019 general elections, particularly the presidential poll.
The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, also told the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, that international partners must insist and encourage a free, fair and credible electoral process. “They must also caution against manipulation and other abuses that are capable of truncating our democracy and endangering the lives of Nigerians as a result of a failed electoral process,” Secondus further said.