Meanwhile, as the Presidential and National Assembly elections hold today, President Jonathan has charged all political parties and politicians to allow the free, unfettered will of Nigerians to be expressed without any hindrance during the elections in keeping with the hallowed principles and tenets of democratic governance.
The will of the people freely expressed through the ballot according to Jonathan, was the bedrock of all democracies and as such that of Nigeria could not be an exception.
“As we prepare to go to the polls tomorrow (today), I have come before you this morning to express my immense appreciation for the opportunity you gave me to lead this great nation of ours in the past four years.
“I also wish to place on record, once again, my sincere gratitude for the support you have given my administration without which the significant progress we have made in recent years would not have been possible.
“In spite of the many challenges we have had to contend with since 1999, our present democratic dispensation continues to endure and grow stronger in keeping with the yearnings and aspirations of our people.
“We have all worked very hard to nurture and strengthen our democratic institutions and promote the good governance practices which they were designed to deliver for the better well-being of our people.
“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.
“This much-cherished democracy of ours is about to be put to the test once again. I urge you all to troop out en-masse to peacefully perform your civic duty of voting for leaders of your choice tomorrow (today).
“As we do so, let us all – political party leaders, contestants, party members, party agents, supporters and ordinary voters alike, be very conscious of the fact that the eyes of the entire world are on us. We must therefore comport ourselves in a manner that will further strengthen our democracy and consolidate our place in the comity of truly democratic nations.”
He equally reaffirmed that his personal 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 however warned, that as President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, he was under oath to protect the lives of all Nigerians and the security of the country at all times.
He assured that he would never abdicate his responsibilities in that regard.
“Democracy allows dissent. It encourages differences and even fervent disagreements. But elections must never be mistaken for war or an opportunity to set fellow citizens against each other and tear our beloved nation apart.
“Those who may harbor 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.
Don’t thwart the will of the people with fake elections result, APC warns…
Also on Friday, the APC issued a strong warning “to those who may be planning to thwart the will of the people by announcing cooked up result of Saturday’s general election and then unleashing armed troops against those who may protest the fake result, to desist from such an anti-democratic and anarchic plot.”
In a statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the plan by some desperate politicians to discountenance the votes of the people and announce a pre-written result giving victory to President Jonathan with just under 2 million votes, to make it look credible, should be discarded.
“As the President himself said in his national broadcast on Friday, ‘the will of the people freely expressed through the ballot is the bedrock of all democracies and ours cannot be an exception.’ We sincerely hope the President means those words and will allow the will of the people to prevail, irrespective of the outcome of the elections,” it said.
APC expressed serious concerns at the secret meetings being held or planned across the country to rig the elections, as well as the violence being unleashed on the opposition, especially in Rivers, Sokoto and the South-west, among others, using thugs in uniform, backed by policemen and soldiers.
The party said the electoral officials should be left to do their work unhindered, instead of the efforts being made by the PDP to compromise them.
APC said “all the devilish moves by those who are bent on rigging the elections and plunging the nation into crisis are being closely monitored by Nigerians themselves, hence there will be no hiding place for any election rigger and trouble maker.”