President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday reiterated that the 2023 general election would be free, fair and credible, saying manipulations would not be allowed in any form.
The president spoke when he played host to West African Elders Forum Pre-Election Mediation Mission, led by former Sierra Leonean President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, at the presidential villa..
“Thank you for accepting to do this service for our sub-region,” the president told his guests, citing off-season elections held in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States, as pointer to the fact that the federal government would allow people to choose leaders 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,” a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as saying.
Former President Koroma, who led a team made 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 the parties, civil society, and Independent National Electoral Commission, among others.
“And we commend you for making it clear both locally and internationally that the elections would be free and fair,” he added.
He commended President Buhari 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, noting that “other countries look up to Nigeria for direction.”
“When we had issues in Sierra Leone and Liberia, it was Nigeria that came in to stabilize the system,” the former president said.
He urged the Nigerian leader 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.”
INEC Takes Inventory Of Uncollected PVCs
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission Commission (INEC) has directed its staff in its local government offices in the country to take inventory of all uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
The director, Voter Education of the commission, Victor Aluko, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday in a statement, said the inventory is for registrations that took place between 2011 and 2021 December.
He said, “As part of preparation for the PVC collection exercise, the commission directed our staff in all its local government offices to take an inventory of all uncollected PVCs for registrations that took place between 2011 and 2021 December.
“This is to enable us to contact the voters to pick up their cards and also to enable us to generate the PVC issuance register that will be used to issue cards to voters at the point of PVC collection.”