..Backs more use of technology in election
…Warns tenure extension campaigners to desist
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that he will not stay in office as President beyond May 29, 2023.
The President has also warned those campaigning for tenure extension for him to desist from such a dangerous journey, saying that he would abide by the constitution he swore to uphold.
This is as he has given tacit support to efforts to increase the role of technology in the nation’s elections.
His expression of support to increase the role of technology in elections came on the heels of the clamor for electronic transmission of results by many Nigerians to make the process credible.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had told the National Assembly and indeed Nigerians that the commission can transmit election results electronically.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, quoted the President as saying, “I swore by the Holy Qur’an that I will serve by the constitution and leave when my time is up. No “Tazarce’’ (tenure extension). I don’t want anybody to start talking about and campaigning for an unconstitutional extension. I will not accept that.”
According to the statement, President Buhari made the vow at a meeting in Makkah with a select group of Nigerians resident in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he just ended a visit.
The statement further said that the President “tacitly expressed support to efforts to increase the role of technology in the nation’s elections, arguing that the introduction of the card reader and electronic register was God’s answer to his prayers, having been cheated of his victory in three previous elections.”
The President said, “After the third so-called defeat, I said, ‘God Dey’. My opponents laughed at me but God answered my prayers by bringing in technology. At that point, nobody can steal their votes or buy them.”
President Buhari, who ended his visit to the Kingdom with the Friday Prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah said he will continue to abide by the constitution in all its ramifications and he will at all times supervise and deal with his ministers on the same basis.
He gave assurances at the meeting that in the balance of “eighteen months or so of my time left, whatever I can do to improve the life of Nigerians, I will do it for the country.”
The President commended diaspora Nigerians in the Kingdom for representing the country well and projecting its good image.
He also used the opportunity to urge citizens at home to be fair to his administration at all times, asking the critics to compare the security situations in the North East and South-South in 2015 and how things have improved as of now.
“My problem is the North West where people are killing and stealing from one another. I had to be very hard on them and I will continue to be very hard until we put them in line and bring back order,” he said.
President Buhari urged Nigerians living in the country to respect the laws, remain law-abiding and do nothing to derogate from the many years of friendly and mutually beneficial relationships between the two countries.
A leader of the community, Dr. Abdulkadir Maikudi, who spoke on behalf of the group requested the President to assist the privately-run Nigerian International School in the Kingdom by equipping it to provide science and technical education.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Yahaya Lawal, and the Consul-General in Jeddah, Ambassador Abdulkarim Mansur attested to the good conduct of the nearly 1.5 million Nigerians there.
According to them, “Nigerian professionals are doing well and projecting a good image of our country.”