President Muhammadu Buhari, on Sunday, re-echoed his resolve to ensure that 2023 General Elections were conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.
Conducting free, fair elections
On June 12, President Buhari stated that in oder to honour the memory of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, the late Chief MKO Abiola, he would facilitate a “free, fair and transparent electoral process” in next year’s elections.
“I am promising you a free, fair and transparent electoral process. And I am pleading with all citizens to come together and work with government to build a peaceful and prosperous nation,” Buhari pledged in his 2022 Democracy Day speech.
The President also noted that in the last seven years, he had made “significant investments to reform and enhance our electoral laws, systems, and processes to safeguard votes.”
Buhari’s promise of credible elections underpins the urgent need to evolve an enduring leadership recruitment process across board, not one characterized by experimentations.
The legacy of credible polls is, therefore, one that the President should not just mouth but ensure that the processes are transparent and primed to enthrone only those who have genuinely earned the votes cast by the electorates.
Will Buhari’s pledge give the citizenry, and candidates for various elective positions hope of smooth outcomes in the wake of waning confidence in the electoral system? The answer, perhaps, lies in the future.
However, it may be safe to concede that the President’s continuous assurance cannot be distanced from his perceived desire to see that he falls on the right side of history by ensuring that the election that would see him vacate the Presidency would be adjudged as free, and fair by Nigerians, including the international community.
In addition, his resolve could also be traced to the burden he has to repay Nigerians with a credible electoral process just like the one that saw him ascend the Presidency in 2015; having previously failed three times consecutively in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
While Buhari’s promise is capable of restoring confidence in the electorates, he must ensure that the necessary resources the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) needs for the elections are provided on time. This must include guarantees of enough security as reports of killings, and intimidation of the electorate are already rife at various centres of voter validation exercise.
All said, eyes are on Buhari to match words with action. And, he cannot afford to disappoint.
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