President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to political actors and other stakeholders to resist any act that could mar the integrity of the nation’s electoral process but to work for peace and social justice.
The president made the appeal in his 2018 Easter message to the nation on Thursday.
He said the appeal had become imperative in view of the fact that political campaigns would soon commence across the country.
He reiterated the resolve of his administration to firmly resist those who might want to make cheap political capital out of the current national security challenges.
According to him, the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over, saying such days are confined to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong.
He added that “as we approach the period of campaigns, I appeal to our political actors and other stakeholders to resist any act that could mar the integrity of our electoral process.
“I am optimistic that with God on our side, the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over.
“They are confined to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong.
“I remain committed to bequeathing a legacy of supremacy of the people’s will through the ballot box.”
On the Dapchi schoolgirls, the President expressed delight that the released girls had been reunited with their families.
He expressed the hope that all others, including the Chibok girls who were still in captivity, would be safely released unconditionally to their families.
President Buhari urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the safe return of the girls and all others in captivity.
He said “thankfully, our Dapchi schoolgirls who were safely released recently after 30 agonising days in the hands of their abductors have been reunited with their families.
“I am optimistic that all others, including the Chibok girls still in captivity will be safely released unconditionally to their families.
“I urge you to continue to pray for their safe return.’’
The president stated that he had already given clear instructions to security agencies to prioritise safety in schools in areas where humanitarian and security situations were still dire, in addition to ensuring adequate protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
He thanked God for granting the citizens the opportunity to celebrate another Easter at a time of great promise and hope for the nation in spite of the current challenges in the country.
He noted that “I am indeed delighted to join our Christian brothers and sisters to commemorate this year’s Easter celebration.
“We thank Almighty God for granting us the opportunity to celebrate another Easter at a time of great promise and hope for our dear nation, in spite of challenges we also have.
“Easter, the season in which Christians mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ represents the triumph of good over evil; life over death.
“It is also a time to show love, forgiveness, compassion and renewed hope in the Grace of God.
“The Holy Scripture affirms that happiness and fulfillment in life do not flow from acquiring the best things in life, but in being richer in relationship with God and fellow human beings.’’
He urged citizens to use the opportunity of this special season to deeply reflect on how everyone could imbibe the profound teachings of Jesus Christ with renewed vigour.
President Buhari added that “in so doing and by placing the joy, comfort and happiness of others above ours, we will make a statement that vices such as hate speech, bigotry, corruption, banditry and terrorism have no place in our nation.
“We must do all it takes to love our neighbours and display increased spirit of tolerance and accommodation.’’
The president commended those who recognised and supported the unwavering efforts to prevent the spread of conflicts in the society, and to unite the country.
He also lauded them for checking wanton criminality and for steering the ship of state to steady path of economic growth, job creation and development.
President Buhari noted that his administration’s programmes and policies in the last three years had resulted in bringing down prices of staple crops; gradual improvement of road, rail and electricity infrastructure; and making Nigeria the preferred destination for investors.
He added that “more than ever before, we are ready to consolidate on these gains and ensure that we improve the lot of our communities in the years ahead.
“May this year’s Easter celebration bring us renewed hope and confidence as a great nation.” (NAN)