By NBF News

Protect your votes, says Buhari
March 17, 2010 06:41AM
Muhammadu Buhari, former head of state and presidential candidate in the 2007 elections, has appealed to Nigerians to ensure that their votes count in the 2011 general elections.

Mr. Buhari, a retired general, contested for the presidency in 2003 and 2007 under the platform of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), but lost on both occasions to former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and President Umaru Yar'Adua respectively.

The 2011 presidential hopeful spoke last weekend during the presentation of a book entitled 'Gyara Kayanka' which literally means 'Take Care,' held at the Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambaya House, Bayero University, Kano.

He said the choice is for Nigerians to liberate themselves, or agree to be enslaved by those who rig elections. He noted with dismay how Nigeria's oil revenue has not been translated to the provision of basic amenities for the citizenry.

Mr. Buhari said that when Nigerians cast their votes on election day, they should make sure such votes are counted and protected, so that the wrong people would not find their ways in positions of authority.

'If you allow the wrong people to steal your votes, it remains your choice,' he warned.

Not in my own interest
He added, 'I know I am like any one of you here, but I was a governor, a minister, and a head of state. By all standards, I can't be saying this to protect my interest. But it is all about the common man's interest who has lost the hope of a better tomorrow. You must stand up and protect your votes. Make sure it count. Or else, if you choose to be indifferent about protecting your rights, then you should be prepared for slavery forever.'

He said bad governance has been responsible for the death of over half a million Nigerians from all parts of the north due to ethno-religious crises in the past 10 years.

Mr. Buhari added that widespread poverty, illiteracy, and hunger prevalent in the north, is the by-product of electoral malpractices which had produced the wrong persons in position of governance.

He eulogised the people of Kano, Bauchi and Lagos States for defending their votes in 2003 and 2007. He said these states remain role models because the people stood their grounds and stopped election riggers from manipulating the results of the governorship elections.