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Buhari links credible 2015 polls to PVC, card reader




PRESIDENT-ELECT, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), yesterday declared that the introduction of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and the biometric card reader by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ensured free, fair and credible polls earlier this year.

Speaking when he met with a delegation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Taraba State, led by its governorship candidate in the recent poll, Senator Aisha Alhassan, Buhari said that but for the initiative, the votes would not have counted in the just concluded poll.

In spite of the fact that he was not rich, he noted, the goodwill he enjoyed among Nigerians desirous of change was reflected in the outcome of the poll due to the introduction of the card reader and the PVC. Assuring that Nigeria could never be the same again in the next four years, Buhari pledged to ensure free and fair election in 2019.

He further claimed that eligible voters were denied the right to vote in two of the country’s six geo-political zones in spite of the existence of the PVC and the card reader.

On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it has overcome the post-election trauma it suffered following its losses at the 2015 general elections. The party, however, commended its leader, President Goodluck Jonathan, for his mature and timely intervention in ending the bickering among party leaders.

In a statement yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the National Working Committee (NWC) would absolutely abide by the counsel and has instructed all members of the executive committee of the party at all levels to comply accordingly.

Metuh said: “The leadership of the PDP regrets any embarrassment the avoidable skirmishes may have caused members of our great party, especially our founding fathers and teeming supporters across the country.

“We are aware that this unfortunate development is a consequence of post-election trauma arising from our first ever defeat. We, however, note with relief that we have now overcome this challenge.

“The National Working Committee assures that in the new spirit of harmony in the PDP family, the re-engineering process, which began on Tuesday with the inauguration of the post-election review committee, will be vigorously sustained to restore the lost glory of our great party.

“We therefore urge all our members to ensure that they henceforth guard their utterances and actions, no matter the provocation and distortions in some sections of the media, while channeling their energies and ideas towards the rebuilding process.

“In this regard, all members who have reports, grievances and suggestions on the way forward should transmit same to the committee for an all inclusive roadmap in the overall effort to regain power in 2019.

“Our members should be wary of the activities of some mischievous persons within and outside the PDP family, who are bent on frustrating this peace effort. Such individuals and groups have found the social media a veritable tool for their mischief through distortion of facts, false allegations and fabrications against our party.”

Meanwhile, in a demonstration of his leadership style, Buhari has instructed police and military security personnel attached to him to respect traffic regulations during his movements.

A statement by his media team in Abuja quoted Buhari as saying that strict adherence to the law would be the guiding philosophy of his administration, adding that “without leadership by example, the ordinary citizens would become copycats of the lawlessness of their leaders.”

He explained that the “arrogance of power, lawlessness and disregard for the rights and convenience of fellow citizens would have no place in his government.” According to Buhari, for leaders to inspire respect, they must obey the laws of the country, and when leaders treat the country’s laws with contempt, they might send the wrong message to the citizens.

Still speaking to the Taraba delegation, the president elect thereby urged the leader of the delegation, Senator Alhassan to take a cue from his experience by not wavering in her resolve to secure justice at the election petition tribunal.

I hope that you succeed in the court. I am impressed by the quality of Taraba people you brought here. I think that for all I get and purpose, the whole of Taraba is here and I am very grateful for that in spite of your expensive shopping list You said you have gold, you have tantalite, you wants your roads to be finished, you want agriculture. If you will, I think I am in trouble. Honestly, I hope you will win in the court.

“I think that 2015 will go down in Nigeria political history as a glorious year. Nigerians have deliberately understood what is multi party democracy. We thank God for technology-PVC and card reader. If not this luck we had with technology and the insistence of constituencies to make sure they are used, in two political zones where they were subverted, the people wanted to vote, but they were not allowed to vote. They would have continued with what they use to do, from their party offices or their seating rooms, write the results, go to radio house and television house and announce the result and say whoever does not want the result should go to court.

“How many people can go to court when they are struggling to get the next day’s meal. Where will they get the millions to give to those Senior Advocates of Nigeria? I was able to do it because of the goodwill of Nigeria, which again demonstrated itself this year. People agreed that I am not a very rich man, but I was lucky that Nigerians believe in me and they put their strength together, voted and made sure that their votes counted. I say thanks to the technology. Please continue to support those among you that you feel will go and work for your state and for the country. I assure you that the government of the APC, when eventually put in place will be a competent Nigerian government.

Mrs. Alhassan congratulated Buhari on his victory at the poll, adding that she has resolved to challenge the outcome of the Taraba governorship poll at the election petition tribunal.

Accompanied by dignitaries from across the state, Alhassan maintained, “We shall reclaim our stolen mandate in Taraba State by the Grace of God. This, we are sure of because with the overwhelming evidence of massive electoral irregularities, we are very confident that we shall get justice at the tribunals.”

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