The spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, says the United Nation’s prediction that 2019 elections in Nigeria will be credible and violent free is yet another indication of the world’s confidence in the country’s current administration.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Monday, a day after a United Nations representative made the prediction in a Channels TV interview, Mr. Shehu expressed pleasure at the world body’s observation of the trends in Mr. Buhari’s government, he said which could only lead to free and fair elections come 2019.
“The Buhari government doesn’t believe in cheap propaganda,” he said.
“It’s not about responding to the attacks, false allegations and insinuations of the PDP or of the still very active media machinery of the previous government.
“We believe in taking active steps to ensure that the future of Nigeria is better than it is today and we are glad to see that the United Nations has acknowledged this.”
During the Channels TV interview, Head of UN Office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambers, had pointed out the credible and peaceful local elections that have so far taken place in different states across Nigeria, and used it as one of the indices for what to expect in the presidential election in 2019.
“Under the government of President Buhari, a number of credible elections have been conducted in states and local governments across Nigeria and, so far, there has been no cause for fear or worry,” Mr. Shehu said.
He added that the 2015 elections which saw the historic election of President Buhari – the first time in Nigeria and “ one of the rare occasions in Africa when an incumbent was soundly defeated in an election” – were credible simply because of the presence and diligence of Attahiru Jega, the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, at the time.
“ At one of its meetings, the Council of States last year put on record the appreciation of the nation for the conduct of the 2015 elections and commended the leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega as Chairman of the Commission for bringing that about.
“In addition to the steadfastness of the INEC, the ECOWAS, AU, EU, UN and other international bodies also had to be on guard to ensure that there was no opportunity for the kind of foolishness we saw at the INEC collation center from people in the circle of power to flourish,” Mr. Garba said.
“But, in 2019, the international community will have nothing to fear, and I am happy that the UN can already sense that several months in advance,” he said.