2019: I’m not scared of losing election –Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Beijing, China said that as a beneficiary of free and fair elections in 2015 which brought him to office, he is not afraid of another credible process in 2019.

At an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community in China, Buhari reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that the 2019 polls, under his watch, will be free, fair and credible as Nigerians eligible to vote in the polls will be allowed to do so freely.
He said: ‘‘I have no fear about free and fair elections because that is what brought me to the present position. I know what I went through and very few Nigerians could boast of trying four times (contesting for the presidency).
‘‘Those interested in participating in the elections must get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), register in their constituencies and elect anybody of their choice across ethnicity and religion.
‘‘The Nigeria Police, other law enforcement agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must respect the people to express their wishes,’’ he said.
Citing recent elections in Bauchi, Katsina and Kogi States, the President said that the country had made progress relative to elections conducted in the past years.
On security issues, Buhari reaffirmed that his government has succeeded in curtailing Boko Haram insurgents, adding that the terrorist group no longer controls any part of the country; and attributed the success to operations of security agencies deployed to counter insurgency in the North East zone.
‘‘You will all recall that we contested the last election basically on three issues, which includes security, especially in the North East.
‘‘The Boko Haram used to occupy quite a number of local governments in Borno State but they are not in anyone now. They have resorted to a very dangerous way of terrorism by indoctrinating young people, mostly girls and attacking soft targets, churches, mosques and marketplaces,’’ he said.
On herders and farmers’ clashes in Nigeria, Buhari told Nigerians in the Diaspora that while security agencies are doing their best to curtail the clashes, the Nigerian media need to complement the efforts through objective and informed reportage.
Buhari appealed to the Nigerian media to make an attempt at understanding the cultural and historical implications of some of the misunderstanding between herders and farmers.
He said: ‘‘To my disappointment there are a number of things which the members of the press in Nigeria do not make enough efforts; in my observation, to study the historical antecedents of issues that are creating national problems for us.’’
According to the President, due to the effects of climate change, a farm that used to belong to five people now belongs to 50 people, the weather condition, particularly the rainy season is now unpredictable.
The President partly blamed the farmers/herders’ controversy on the shrinking of the Lake Chad, which has forced many cattle nomads to seek greener pastures for their herds in other parts of the country.
On Nigeria-China relations, Buhari applauded China’s generosity and contributions to the development of Nigeria, citing the successful completion of the Abuja-Kaduna railway line, built by the Chinese, and ongoing works on Lagos, Ibadan, Ilorin, Abuja, Kano railway routes.
He said that Nigeria and China are also negotiating on the Mambilla project.
President Buhari advised Nigerians planning to travel abroad for ‘‘greener pastures’’ to do so legitimately and not to expect too much from their countries of destination.
‘‘You cannot seek greener pastures in a place where you are not respected because of the colour of your skin or your lack of education or other things. Personally, I think you will earn more respect when you remain at home and get a job,’’ he said
Acknowledging the material and intellectual support of Nigerians in the Diaspora to the development of the country, the President assured that his administration will remain focused and committed to providing the needed infrastructure and doing the needful for Nigeria’s prosperity.
Earlier, the Nigerian Ambassador to China, Baba Ahmed-Jidda, thanked Buhari for his support to the Embassy, which led to the completion of the Ambassador’s residence.
He praised Nigerians resident in the various provinces of China for being law abiding with the exception of few.
The President of the China chapter of Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation, Brian Akiti, while wishing Nigeria successful elections in 2019, pledged the support of the organisation to the present administration’s development agenda.
In a separate event, the President also met with Nigerian students on scholarship in China.
Buhari also met with the executives of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), during which he lauded the construction group for its immense contributions to infrastructure development in Nigeria.

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