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”I am not afraid of free and fair elections in 2019”- President Buhari

President Buhari has said that as a beneficiary of free and fair
elections, he is not afraid of a credible process in 2019. Speaking at
an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community in China
today, Sunday September 2nd, President Buhari pledged that Nigerians
eligible to vote in the next general elections will be allowed to freely
elect candidates of their choice.

‘‘I have no fear about free and fair elections because that is what
brought me to the present position. I know what I went through and very
few Nigerians could boast of trying four times. Those interested in
participating in the elections must get their PVCs and register in their
constituencies and elect anybody of their choice across ethnicity and
religion. The Nigerian police, law enforcement agencies and INEC must
respect the wishes of the people,’’ he said.

Citing recent elections in Bauchi, Katsina and Kogi States, the
President said the country had made progress relative to elections
conducted in the past years.

On security issues, the President reaffirmed that his government has
succeeded in curtailing Boko Haram insurgents in the country, adding
that the terrorist group no longer controls any part of the country. He
attributed the success to operations of security agencies deployed to
counter insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country.

‘‘You will all recall that we contested the last election basically
on three issues, which includes security, especially in the North
East. The Boko Haram used to occupy quite a number of local governments
in Borno State but they are not in any one now. They have resorted to a
very dangerous way of terrorism by indoctrinating young people, mostly
girls and attacking soft targets, churches, mosques and marketplaces,’’
he said.

On herders and farmers clashes in Nigeria, the President told
Nigerians in the Diaspora that while security agencies are doing their
best to curtail the clashes, the Nigerian media need to complement the
efforts through objective and informed reportage.

The President appealed to the Nigerian media to make an attempt at
understanding the cultural and historical implications of some of the
misunderstanding between herders and farmers.

‘‘To my disappointment, the members of the press in Nigeria do not
make enough efforts to study the historical antecedents of issues that
are creating national problems for us,’’ he said.

According to the President, due to the effects of climate change, a
farm that used to belong to 5 people now belongs to 50 people, the
weather condition; particularly the rainy season is now unpredictable.
hE blamed the farmer’s/herders’ controversy on the shrinking of the Lake
Chad, which has forced many cattle nomads to seek greener pastures for
their herds in other parts of the country.

On Nigeria-China relations, the President applauded China’s
generosity and contribution to the development of Nigeria, citing the
successful completion of the Abuja-Kaduna railway line, built by the
Chinese, and ongoing works on Lagos, Ibadan, Ilorin, Abuja, Kano railway
routes.

He said Nigeria and China are also negotiating on the Mambilla project.

President Buhari advised Nigerians planning to travel abroad for
‘‘greener pastures’’ to do so legitimately and not to expect too much
from their countries of destination.

‘‘You cannot seek greener pastures in a place where you are not
respected because of the colour of your skin or your lack of education
or other things. Personally, I think you will earn more respect when you
remain at home and get a job,’’ he said.

Acknowledging the material and intellectual support of Nigerians in
the Diaspora to the development of the country, the President assured
that his administration will remain focused and committed in providing
the needed infrastructure and doing the needful for Nigeria’s
prosperity.

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