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President Muhammadu Buhari says he would not allow any candidate to use personal resources or influence to intimidate Nigerians ahead of the 2023 general election.
Buhari said his administration would allow intimidation “materially, morally or physically”, adding that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would bequeath strong political institutions that reflect Nigerians’ choices, through non-interference in elections.
According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said this when he received members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) led by its Chairman, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The President cited outcomes of polls in Ekiti, Anambra, and Osun states as indicators of his administration’s non-interference in political processes in the country.
He stated that non-interference in elections gives credence to the political processes, ensures participation and inclusiveness, and shows that the governing party respects the electorate.
Buhari said the APC, under his leadership, would continue to respect Nigerians by ensuring that their votes count and the people’s voices matter in choosing political leaders at different levels.
“I want Nigerians to know that we respect them, and for us to show that, we will allow them to vote who they want.
“We all witnessed what happened in Anambra, Ekiti, and Osun states. What happened in those states gives me a lot of hope that we are succeeding.
“Government will also ensure that Nigerians don’t get intimidated, or humiliated by those in positions, or the more privileged.
“We will not allow anyone to use personal resources or their influence to intimidate other Nigerians. We will not allow intimidation materially, morally, or physically.
”This is the kind of leadership that can emerge and consolidate our nation.
“In six months, Nigerians will appreciate the government of APC that we are sincere and we respect them,” President Buhari said.
He urged the party’s political leaders to intensity efforts in “thinking, meeting and strategizing for the 2023 elections.”
In his remarks, the PGF Chairman thanked Buhari for his leadership, guided by wisdom and foresight, affirming that the Nigerian economy has been growing, in spite of the formidable challenges.
“We want to congratulate you on the positive trajectory of the economy, with the 3.5 per cent growth in the second quarter, up from 3.1 per cent of the first quarter of this year.
”Infrastructure projects are ongoing in parts of the country, and the social intervention programme is expanding,” Bagudu said.
The PGF Chairman further told President Buhari that some APC governors were contesting elections for the second term in 2023, with impressive records in their first terms.
“We note the pronouncement of ASUU. We recall the appeal of the President to ASUU, while we were visiting Daura that they should consider the future of students.
“We will not dwell on that now. We are ready to accept any negotiations for resolution,’’ Bagudu added.
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