Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama has said the international community cannot dictate to the federal government on how to run the country.
He said this against the backdrop of some level of ‘interference’ by some foreign nations ahead Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.
Onyeama issued the warning during a parley with the diplomatic community on the rescheduled polls in Abuja.
He said the diplomatic community cannot afford to cross the line between advising Nigeria on good governance and dictating to the country how to govern.
“At the end of the day, we are a sovereign nation and the line shouldn’t be crossed from exhorting us and wanting us to succeed and wanting this to be a really democratic process, to dictating to us and really getting into the nitty-gritty of how we run the country which is exclusively the responsibility of this government,” Onyeama said.
In the run-up to the polls, the federal government had severally raised concerns over ‘foreign interference’ and support for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Similarly, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state was recently reported to have warned against foreign influence during the general elections, saying anybody found doing that would be returned to their home countries on body bags.
This position drew the angst of many from within and outside the country.
Buhari raise the alarm
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has said foreign currency had flooded the country with the intent of influencing the course of the general elections.
Speaking during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja Wednesday, the president said some politicians had flouted the money laundering regulations in their desperate bid to capture political power.
The president commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for successfully tracking the money in “millions of United States dollars” following a presidential directive to investigative agencies to probe a number of high profile cases.
He said the present administration was determined to wage a relentless war against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The president appealed to Nigerians, especially politicians, to place the interest of the country above all others as they cast their votes in the coming elections.
Also, the EFCC has raised the alarm over circulation of fake dollar notes ahead of Saturday polls.
Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, stated this Thursday in a statement in Abuja.
The anti-graft agency boss said intelligence indicated that the dollar notes had features of genuineness, but forensic analysis by the commission revealed otherwise.
“We, therefore, warn the BDC operators to be cautious in their transactions from now till the end of the elections,” the statement said.
Buhari urges Nigerians to vote
Meanwhile, President Buhari has called on Nigerians to honour their civic duty by coming out to vote candidates of their choice Saturday.
The president said this in a nationwide broadcast to the nation Thursday.
“Tomorrow, the polls open. Tomorrow, we affirm that Nigeria stands as a democracy and that no worldly hand can deter us from this wise and fitting path we have chosen for ourselves.
“Tomorrow is an encounter with history in which you, the people, shall affirm your collective belief in our national greatness and in our future. I ask that you embrace and hold on to the importance of the moment soon to be upon us.
“Honour your civic duty as voters by going to the polls tomorrow to vote for the government of your choice, for the government that will lead Nigeria toward its finest destiny. As citizens there is no greater duty than this and no greater honour. Tomorrow, I know you will once again make Nigeria proud of its people,” he said.
The president commended Nigerians for their patience and peaceful conduct, especially during the intervening week following the postponement of the February 16 elections.
“While democracy is the most beneficial way to select a nation’s leaders, it is far from the easiest thing to achieve and maintain. It requires a combination of patience, tolerance, compassion, diligence, wisdom and hope. These traits exist in us the Nigerian people. Because of who we are, democracy has the chance to flourish in this land.
“Thus, I commend all of you for your patience and peaceful conduct so far during this electoral season and especially during this intervening week following the postponement of the February 16 elections.
“Many were worried and thought the worst might happen. You proved them wrong by showing that you are a great people with an abiding love for peace, democracy and the unity of our country.”
He said there was need for Nigerians to cast aside doubt and have faith that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would conduct free, fair and credible elections.
The president said Nigerians should not be afraid of rumours of violence and unrest because security agencies had been working diligently to ensure adequate security measures were in place to make the elections peaceful.
“You will be able to vote in an atmosphere of openness and peace, devoid of fear from threat or intimidation. International and domestic monitors and observers are assured of their safety and freedom of movement needed to perform their important functions.”