Buhari won’t interfere with INEC during 2019 elections, says Ojudu

Babafemi Ojudu, special adviser to the president on political matters, says President Muhammadu Buhari will not interfere with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the 2019 general election.

Ojudu disclosed this while reading the president’s speech at the 2018 annual Nigeria political parties summit held in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, Buhari gave an undertaking that he would ensure that next year’s polls are free, fair and credible.

“Today, I pledge to Nigeria, my country to promote free fair and credible election devoid of any form of interference in the activities of INEC, to ensure security and promote a violence free election devoid of animosity and hate speeches, to abide by the extant laws governing political parties and adhere strictly to the code of conduct of political parties in Nigeria. So help me God,” the speech read.

“What has brought us together is our strong desire to build a budding democracy through a peaceful 2019 general election. No matter the nature and level of our political influences, we do not have another nation than Nigeria.

“These differences should not divide us but should make us stronger. With commitment and perseverance, we will triumph.

“On our part, I want to reassure the nation that this administration is committed to a democratic process characterized by free, fair and credible election.

“We are committed to providing an enabling environment and a level playing ground for all political parties in the electioneering process without hindrance.

“Democracy is not an event, but a process to ensure that power is always exercised on behalf of the people by their representatives. It is the political parties that carefully select and present candidates for the electorates to choose from, while the elections present the opportunity for the people to make their choices freely through a free and fair contest devoid of violence, intimidation, hate speeches and blackmail.”

The president urged all political parties to adhere to the rules of electioneering with the highest level of decorum, adding that it should not be seen as a “do-or-die affair”.

“Let me emphasise here that electioneering must be approached with the highest level of decorum and strict adherence to the rules of the game, particularly as enshrined in the constitution, the electoral act and indeed the code of conduct which the political parties freely put in place,” he said.

“Electioneering must never be seen as a do or die. All over the world, developed and developing, we see nations making huge successes of their electioneering and Nigeria must not be an exception in this global trend of peaceful and transparent election.”