President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday said he remains the preferred candidate at the presidential election scheduled to take place Saturday.
In a nationwide broadcast, the president said the poll was about choice between consolidating the achievements recorded by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in the last three and half years and returning to the maladministration that characterised the 16-year administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“In making your choice this time, please ask yourself whether, and in what ways, others will do anything different to address the issues of agriculture, infrastructure, security, good governance and fighting corruption.
“If they are only hoping to do what we are already doing successfully, we are clearly your preferred choice. Think carefully and choose wisely. This time, it is a choice about consolidating on growth for jobs and prosperity.
“February 16, 2019, is all about a choice. But it is more than a choice between APC and the opposition. It is a choice about you, it is a choice between going back or keeping the momentum of change.
On peaceful elections, he said: “Comments or threats of intimidation from any source do not represent the position” of the present administration.
“It was indeed such free, fair and peaceful elections that made it possible for our government to emerge, despite the fact that we were contesting against a long-standing incumbent party.
“And as your president and a fellow Nigerian, I ask that you come out and queue to fulfil this important obligation you have to yourselves and your fellow citizens – and to our common future.
“Let me at this point reaffirm the commitment of the federal government to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates.”
The president also said youth should not allow themselves to be used to cause violence and destruction during and after the polls.
He said those wishing to incite the youth were those preparing the ground for discrediting the elections.
“Having lost the argument, they fear losing the elections,” he said.
On the achievements of the present administration, Buhari said he would build on them, particularly those recorded in the fight against corruption, security and economy.
Also, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has said he deserved to take over power from the incumbent.
He said this Thursday while rounding off his campaign in Yola, the capital city of his home state -Adamawa.
Atiku said as a son of the soil, there was no need for him to campaign at home, but would rather urge his kinsmen not to disappoint him Saturday.
The PDP standard bearer said he was better positioned to address the problem of insecurity, unemployment, poverty and other challenges militating against the nation’s development.
In his remarks, the National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, also said the Adamawa people should show their love for Atiku and the party.
He said their son, as a tested Nigerian, has what it takes to change the country for the better.
Secondus also said the Independent national Electoral Commission, security agencies and all stakeholders must ensure the conduct of credible elections.
In his remarks, the Adamawa PDP gubernatorial candidate, Umaru Fintiri, said if elected as governor, he would ensure free and compulsory education.
PDP berates Buhari
In a related development, the PDP has said President Buhari’s Thursday national broadcast was full of fabrications and false performance claims.
PDP stated that it was rather too late in the day for President Buhari to redeem himself with an academic speech as Nigerians, having moved ahead with its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, were no longer ready to listen to a long claim of “non-existent achievements.”
In a statement by director media and publicity of PDP presidential campaign organisation and national spokesperson of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan Thursday, the party said: “It is ludicrous that at a time President Buhari should be remorseful and apologise for his failures that led to the biting economic hardship, hunger, job losses, killings and escalated bloodletting in our country, under his watch, he chose to engage in a last minute attempt to sway Nigerians with falsehood.”
“Nigerians watched a President Buhari, who, having seen the handwriting on the wall struggled with false economic growth figures and sought to blackmail the people with claims of non-existent food security and false assurances of safety in a nation heavily plagued by unemployment, loss of jobs, poverty as well as escalated insurgency and banditry.
“Nigerians watched as President Buhari claimed a rise in foreign reserves but failed to accept responsibility for the huge rise in our nation’s debt and the fact that our nation has become the poverty capital of the world.
“Furthermore, how would President Buhari want anybody to take his assurance of safety of members of global democratic institutions working for peaceful elections in our country, after his presidency threatened the international community and endorsed the threats by Kaduna state Governor Nasir el-Rufai that such foreigners will return to their country in body bags.
“The PDP counsels President Buhari to note that he has come to the end of the road and that Nigerians are no longer with him. He should therefore end all his rigging plots and allow Nigerians to rebuild our nation under the leadership of Atiku Abubakar, whom they have reached a consensus to vote in as the next president of our country.”