Buhari Visits Adeboye, Okays Election Shift
LAGOS, Sept 22, (THEWILL) - Former Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) today threw his weight behind the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in its request to hold elections in March/April.
Buhari spoke in Lagos after a close-door meeting with General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, saying the request, if granted at last, would afford INEC more time to register over 70 million Nigerians for the elections and eliminate chances for rigging.
Buhari, who is contesting next year’s presidential election on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), arrived Lagos via Murtala Mohammed International Airport alongside former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari and was welcome by Ogun State governorship aspirant of the party, Mr. Lanre Tejuoso who was accompanied by party leaders in the South-West.
"I think it is good because I think the most important thing is the new voters register. We must get it right so that the 120,000 polling stations and everyone would be aware and know who is who and also ensure that the chance of rigging will be greatly diminished," the retired soldier said.
Buhari, who contested the presidential elections in 2003 and 2007, said the last voters register could not guarantee credible elections adding that many youths who were not 18 as at the last elections have attained the voting age and hence need to be registered to vote.
He said some "have also misplaced their voting cards. Some got missing. Some were sold. There is a need for a fresh register, which is key to the elections. It needs more time to embark on it if we must succeed."
After meeting with Pastor Adeboye for about one hour, Buhari said it was part of his political quest to seek support and understanding of religious and community leaders ahead of the elections.
Asked about his chances of winning, Buhari expressed confidence of the readiness of the party to confront all oppositions both at the national and state levels and cause a major upset in the elections.
Buhari said the party leaders "will not go round the country if we feel our chances are not bright, we will not waste our time. We believe we will do very well and surprise not only the people of Nigeria, but people outside.
"This is not the first time I would be visiting him. My duty is to go round and see men of God and urge them to pray for the success of the elections. I seek understanding and support for the elections. This is what I have done and I am very happy about the response for our request," Buhari said.
Also speaking after the meeting with Pastor Adeboye, Masari said an extension might affect political parties and individuals who have kick-started their campaign for the January elections.
"Initially, when I first saw the timetable, I was very uncomfortable with the time for the voters registration because without a good voters register, you cannot have a clean election," the former Speaker of the House of Representative said.
Masari, who is contesting governorship poll in Katsina State on the platform of CPC, urged all intending candidates "to play according to the rules of the game. Let us go for issues rather than personalities because I think after 50 years, we should stop discussing individuals. We should discuss issues."