I didn’t interfere, polls reflected Nigerians’ choices – Buhari
Following the conduct of the presidential, governorship and legislative elections, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, in Abuja, said he is proud of the Nigerian electorate who have realised their power and “ultimately decided who won or lost.”
However, he expressed sadness that some candidates, especially those of the All Progressives Congress, lost their bid.
“I am unhappy that some candidates lost in the election. But I am inspired by the fact that voters were able to make their own decision, to decide who won and who lost,” Buhari told the outgoing United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, at the State House, Abuja.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement he signed on Tuesday titled ‘Recent elections proof of nation’s voter vibrancy, maturity, says President Buhari.’
The PUNCH reports that the February 25 and March 18 elections, were marred by varying degrees of irregularities and violence, which drew criticism from large sections of the electorate and the international community.
Some of the opposition parties have also called for the cancellation of results and a re-run, blaming the Independent National Electoral Commission for failing to transmit results electronically.
Nonetheless, Buhari said he was “completely satisfied” with his own role in the election process staying above it, without meddlesomeness or any form of interference.
He lauded Nigerians for their “remarkable passion towards democracy exhibited through the choices they made in the presidential, National Assembly and the subsequent governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.”
He said, “Nigeria’s democracy has truly matured. People are realising their power. Given the chance of a free and fair vote, nobody can tell them what to do.
“With the currency change, there was no money to spread around but even then, I told voters to take the money and vote according to their consciences.”
The President commended the outgoing US envoy for the enormous achievements recorded in the Nigeria-US relations in the three-and-half years she served.
In her remarks, Leonard also said she was happy with the progress made in Nigeria-US relations, specifically citing the recent institution of a five-year visa regime between the two countries; active collaboration in security and the supply of military hardware including war planes and the soon-to-come fighter helicopters, among others.