For the umpteenth time, President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2019, just as he expressed the hope that Nigerians will return him to office in next year’s election.
In a New Year message to Nigerians, the president said greater number of Nigerians believed that government would deliver on its promises for a level playing field at the polls.
He said: “2019 will be an election year for us. In about two months, the polls are due, and we will elect leaders into various offices, at national and state levels. As I welcome you into 2019, I also reiterate my many promises and declarations that the general elections will be free, fair and credible.
“Elections need not be do-or-die affair, and we should not approach that eventuality in a democracy with trepidation and mortal fear. Happily, a large number of presidential candidates have committed to peace, and peace we shall have.
“Those who continue to trumpet falsehood and negativity are on their own, fighting a losing battle. The greater number of Nigerians are trusting and believing that we shall deliver on our promises for a level playing field at the polls, and that is what we shall do,” he said.
The president commended Nigerians for the mandate they gave him in 2015, stressing that he’s confident that he would be re-elected in 2019 based on the performance of his administration.
“I appreciate your support and collaboration in previous years, and look forward to same in 2019, and beyond, as I hope you will renew the mandate you overwhelmingly gave us in 2015 for another term. We are motivated by nothing other than service to motherland, and service without selfishness or personal interest.
“I can assure you all that we are making steady and sustainable progress in all areas of national life. Those who are unbiased can see and appreciate the progress the country has made since 2015,” he said.
The president also spoke on the challenge facing the country, saying government was resolute in addressing security, economic, political and social woes that have been a source of worry to the citizens.
“Nigerians desire peace, security, prosperity, inclusiveness and infrastructural development, a nation they can be proud of, a country that can hold its own among the nations.
“That is the journey we have embarked on since we came onboard in 2015, and we are not distracted as we move on. We are resolved to build a country in which the resources are utilized for the benefit of the largest number, and not appropriated by a privileged few in their never ending quest to satisfy their greed.
“We are on this mission together, and I assure you of a firm commitment to the ideals of a safe, secure, fair, just and prosperous country. We have had our challenges: security, economic, political, social. But we are resolved to combat and overcome them all,” he said.
The president also rejoiced with Nigerians as they enter the year 2019, which he said would be very significant for the country.
He said: “At the turn of every year, we often use the opportunity to look back at the past and forward to the future. To review the outgoing year, its high and low points, successes and failures, and be fully thankful to God.
“We Nigerians are a religious people, and we believe that God reigns and rules in the affairs of men. A time like this offers precious opportunity for thanksgiving, stock taking and reflection on goals and targets set for the receding year, and how much was accomplished. The ones not done can then be rolled over into a new year.
“The dawn of a New Year is also a time to look forward, to consider new prospects, unfold our plans, and prepare for landmark dates and events.”
In a similar message, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has urged Nigerians not to despair, but be optimistic with absolute faith in the Almighty God in 2019.
The speaker acknowledged that 2018 was characterised by unprecedented spate of needless killings, decline in the nation’s economy, unemployment, general insecurity and other acts of lawlessness due to poor governance.
He was, however, persuaded that 2019 offers Nigerians a unique opportunity to renew their faith and hope in God and the country, as well as an opportunity to take full control of their destiny.
On the 2019 general elections, Dogara challenged Nigerians to be patriotic and committed to their civic responsibility by turning out en masse to elect leaders that will be sensitive to their yearnings and aspirations, provide the requisite security for their lives and properties.
He said: “The year 2019 presents a unique opportunity for us to take full control of our nation and our destiny. It is also time for us to take responsibility for our own lives, rekindle the spirit of community and strive towards making Nigeria work again in all its ramifications.
“A democratic government should always depend on its citizens to whom power belongs as the reverse will only amount to slavery. Hence, we must continue to demonstrate patriotism, cooperation, dedication and resilience in order to overcome our challenges and triumph over the forces of retrogression.
“As the 2019 general elections draw close, I enjoin us all to remain vigilant against anti- democratic forces and remain committed to enthroning a government that is sensitive to our yearnings and aspirations.
“On our part as lawmakers, we shall continue to work as the central institution of democracy through which the will of the people is expressed, especially as the nation approaches very trying times yet.
“On behalf of the leadership and the entire members of the House of Representatives, I wish all Nigerians a happy and prosperous New Year even as I pray that God Almighty will lift our nation to greater heights in the New Year.”
Also, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Lasun Yussuff, called on citizens to eschew violence, especially during the general elections.
According to him, the election year offers Nigerians good opportunity to elect their leaders, adding that “Nigeria has what it takes to be a great nation but attitude of the people remains the major obstacle.”