2011: I Am Not Under Pressure – Nigerian President

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, August 09, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Jonathan today said he has not been under any form of pressure to compromise the 2011 elections.

He spoke in reaction to media reports that he was being hassled by some powerful forces to manipulate the election in favour of the ruling PDP.

A national newspaper had reported today that President Jonathan was under pressure to 'rig' the 2011 presidential elections.

The newspaper quoted the publicity secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, as alleging that the President is "under pressure to give assurance to those canvassing for zoning that he must rig the elections in favour of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, so as to protect the interest of the clique and ensure that General Muhammad Buhari does not win the presidential vote".

But President Jonathan in reaction via his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Ima Niboro dismissed the report as "out rightly false and even illogical. It is an attempt to pre-judge the forthcoming elections before the fact and we would have ignored it but for the high premium the President places on conducting free, fair and credible elections in 2011," he said.

"We want to make it abundantly clear that the President is under no pressure whatsoever over the 2011 elections. He has made it clear that there will be credible elections next year, and so far has taken decisive steps to actualise this vision.

"The President has appointed a leadership for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which has been hailed locally and internationally. He has given unequivocal support to the agency in its search for the most viable strategy to achieve excellent delivery of the next elections, and has told INEC leadership publicly that no one has "tied their hands", and therefore "there is no excuse for failure."

"We find it strange for anyone to be talking about rigging at this time of our political evolution, for those days are gone... they are dead and buried! The President urges all Nigerians to join hands with INEC to ensure that in the next elections, our votes count. Nigerians must speak with one voice and defend their votes.

"It is a new day. Let us forge ahead with new hope, a new vision and a new way of doing things, "the statement said.