Steer Clear Of Trouble Or Be dealt With, Jonathan Warns
AS Nigerians go to the polls today, President Goodluck Jonathan called on all political parties and politicians to allow the free, unfettered will of the people to be expressed without any hindrance “in keeping with the hallowed principles and tenets of democratic governance which we all profess.”
He reminded Nigerians that Nigeria is the largest democracy among black nations of the world, adding: “We are a nation of great accomplishments, with a proud history of evolving affinities.
Let us go out tomorrow (today) to vote peacefully and set a fitting example of political maturity for other emerging democracies to follow.”
In spite of the many challenges that the nation has had to contend with since 1999, the President noted with delight that the present democratic dispensation has continued to endure and grow stronger in keeping with the yearnings and aspirations of our people.
His words: “We have all worked very hard to nurture and strengthen our democratic institutions and promote the good governance practices. I believe I can say without fear of contradiction that we all clearly cherish the democracy we now have and will never willingly give it up for any other form of governance.”
The President, however, warned potential trouble-makers during the election to have a rethink because they would be fished out and summarily dealt with according to the laws of the land. In an early morning nation-wide Radio and Television broadcast yesterday ahead of today’s Presidential election, the President stressed that as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, he would never abdicate his responsibility of protecting the lives of all Nigeria.
“Let me warn, however, that as President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, I am under oath to protect the lives of all Nigerians and the security of our country at all times.” He further warned those “who may harbour any intentions of testing our will by unleashing violence during the elections in order to advance their political ambitions should think again as all necessary measures have been put in place to ensure that any persons who breach the peace or cause public disorder during or after the elections are speedily apprehended and summarily dealt with according to our laws.
“The nation’s security agencies are also fully prepared and ready to deal decisively with any group or persons who attempt to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the elections or cause any form of public disorder.” Jonathan restated his belief that no political ambition could justify violence or the shedding of the blood of the people even as he reaffirmed his preparedness to ensure fair play during the elections and to deploy the resources and institutions of state only in the manner prescribed by our laws. He noted that the election would offer Nigerians another opportunity to empower leaders of their choice once again, and to show the world that genuine democracy is alive and well in the country.
While acknowledging that democracy allows dissent and encourages differences and even fervent disagreements, he however stressed that elections must never be mistaken for war or an opportunity to set fellow citizens against each other and tear the country apart.
AS the presidential elections holds today across the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dismissed as untrue, the reports that the security codes of the Commission’s Permanent Voter cards (PVCs) has been breached with the arrest of its supplier, ACT Technologies, by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday issued a news alert saying that Alhaji Sani Musa whose company, ACT Technologies, supplied the PVCs had been arrested and was being tortured by the DSS to release the security codes of the device.
But fielding questions on the matter in Abuja yesterday, INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega also assured that the card readers deployed for the polls today could not be compromised by any staff of the company, adding that only the electoral umpire has the code to the device and is poised to go on with the scheduled election. Jega who spoke at the Commission’s headquarters during a joint Press conference with the Director General of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) called for a thorough probe into the allegations.
“How can you make such wild allegations two days to an election when these are allegations that needs to be thoroughly investigated?”, he asked. Making further clarifications he said: “The card reader doesn’t have a key or a master key. What a card reader has is a security code and you can only breach the security of the card reader if you have that code.”