Jonathan shuns NSA Dasuki, pledges commitment to fair February elections

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians of his commitment to credible and peaceful polls next month and that the May 29 handover date remains sacrosanct.

The presidential assurance came amidst calls by some individuals, including the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, for the postponement of the February general elections.

Mr. Dasuki’s call has also been denounced by the electoral agency, INEC, and the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.

The President made the pledge, Sunday, during a closed-door meeting with the visiting United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, at the State House, Marina, Lagos, a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said.

The statement was signed by the President.

According to the statement, Mr. Jonathan had “a candid and constructive discussion” about a broad range of issues, concerning next month’s elections, bilateral relations and anti-terrorism fight, with his guest.

“I made it absolutely clear that the May 29th handover date is sacrosanct,” Mr. Jonathan said.

While saying he stressed his commitment to free, fair, and credible elections, he added he promised the American diplomat that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would be provided with all resources to conduct hitch-free elections.

“I emphasised to Secretary Kerry that I am deeply committed to ensuring that our forthcoming election is free, fair, and credible.

“It is especially critical that all political parties abide by the Abuja Accord, which commits each to non-violence before, during, and after the election.

“In addition, the government will provide all resources that are required by the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that the election goes smoothly.

“I also emphasized that INEC is an independent body, which makes its own decisions without any interference from the government.”

The President said he was grateful to the U.S. for standing with Nigeria and its people in the nation’s fight against Boko Haram.

Further, he said he reiterated the commitment of Nigerian government to working together with the US to put an end to global terrorism, particularly Boko Haram, which has caused thousands of deaths in Northern Nigeria.

He promised that Nigeria would also work to deepen and consolidate on its bilateral relationship with the U.S.

Mr. Jonathan described Nigeria as a “vibrant democracy and the largest trading partner of the U.S. in Africa with over $18 billion in bilateral trade.”

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