President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration won’t allow influential and powerful politicians as well as privileged persons in positions to intimidate or humiliate Nigerians during the 2023 general elections.
Buhari gave this assurance when he received members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum led by Chairman and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, at the State House, Abuja.
According to the President, “We will not allow anyone to use personal resources or their influence to intimidate other Nigerians. We will not allow intimidations 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.”
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari in a statement as urging the All Progressives Congress political leaders to intensify efforts in “thinking, meeting and strategizing for the 2023 elections.’’
Buhari, who also explained why he believed in non-interference in the political process, said it gave credence to the political process during elections, ensured participation and inclusiveness, and showed that the governing APC respected the electorate.
He assured Nigerians that the APC would continue to bequeath strong political institutions that reflected their choices, through non-interference in elections, citing outcome of polls in Ekiti, Anambra and Osun States as indicators.
The President assured that APC under his leadership would continue to respect Nigerians by ensuring that their votes count and the people’s voice 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,” he added.
Chairman of the PGF, in his remarks, thanked President Buhari for his leadership, which he said had been guided by wisdom and foresight.
He added that the Nigerian economy had been growing, despite 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 governor said the growth trajectory had defied initial predictions of some multilateral institutions, affirming that the World Bank and others had acknowledged the resilience of the economy, and reviewed their positions.
He further said, “Your Excellency, as we speak, there is drought in Europe and China. The Ukraine-Russia war is taking a toll on economies. In the UK, there is rationing of electricity, and energy shortages in China.
“While other countries are banning food export, we are preparing for more production, in spite of floods in places like Jigawa State. We note your instruction for the release of 40,000 tonnes of grains.
“We also note efforts on improving security and measures to cut oil theft.”
The PGF Chairman also told President Buhari that some APC governors would be contesting elections for second term in 2023 with impressive records in their first term.
“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.
The Kebbi State Governor also commended the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, for their steadfastness and stewardship.