President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that democracy could be achieved in the country only if citizens could maintain a combination of patience, tolerance, compassion, diligence, wisdom and hope.
The president made the declaration during a nationwide television and radio broadcast today, while warning that though democracy is the most beneficial way to select national leaders, it is neither easy to achieve nor maintain.
Buhari said, “While democracy is the most beneficial way to select a nation’s leaders, it is far from the easiest thing to achieve and maintain. It requires a combination of patience, tolerance, compassion, diligence, wisdom and hope. These traits exist in us the Nigerian people. Because of whom we are, democracy has the chance to flourish in this land.”
Commending Nigerians for their commitment to the 2019 general elections as rescheduled, Buhari said, “Thus, I commend all of you for your patience and peaceful conduct so far during this electoral season and especially during this intervening week following the postponement of the February 16 elections. Many were worried and thought the worst might happen. You proved them wrong by showing that you are a great people with an abiding love for peace, democracy and the unity of our country.”
However, the president urged all citizens to maintain an utmost faith in INEC during this period of transition of power through election as only their faith could make the commission do a credible job of conducting a free and fair poll.
Buhari was quoted saying; “According to the daily INEC public briefings given this week, the Electoral Commission says it is ready and fully prepared to conduct the election in a free, fair and transparent manner. I believe INEC realises the profound and weighty duty that rests upon it. We must cast aside doubt and have faith that INEC will rise to the occasion. We must believe and encourage INEC to fulfill and honour this responsibility it owes to our country.”
While speaking further, he urged all Nigerians to go and cast their vote not minding the party line or candidate they will vote for, because voting during an election was a civic right that needs to be exercised.
“As your President, I hereby ask all Nigerians with voting cards to participate in defining the future of our nation by exercising your democratic rights tomorrow. I urge you to go out and vote. I say this because elections are the cornerstone of representative governance. And voting constitutes the highest and best expression of the sovereign will of the people to choose the government that best represents them. It is only upon the freely expressed will of the people that government truly dedicated to the welfare, rights and interests of the people can be founded,” he said.
He added that, “Do not allow anyone to discourage you from the exercise of your rights as citizens and voters tomorrow. To vote means that you believe in Nigeria and the excellent things the future holds for this nation and its people. No matter our political leanings, we all believe in Nigeria, in the noble principles for which it stands and in the values we strive for our beloved nation to uphold. All who are able, must vote so that we may better perfect this democracy and continue to build the greater nation we seek.”
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