Ahead of the 2019 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari has again given assurance that his government will do all that is necessary to ensure that the outcome of the vote reflects the will of the Nigerian people.
He made the statement yesterday when he welcomed the Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Dr Jyrki Juhani Pulkkinen, who had come to present his Letter of Credence to Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.
This is even as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said Nigerians would not be deceived again in the 2019 general elections as was the case in 2015 when they voted for the change mantra of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement made available to journalists by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said he understands the yearnings of Nigerians and strongly believes in the collective dream for a greater country.
He assured the people that all will be done to ensure that the results of the 2019 elections reflect the will of the electorate.
President Buhari said it was the right of Nigerians to elect leaders at various levels in 2019, and all efforts will be made to safeguard the integrity of the process.
“I respect the people’s feelings. I assure all that we will have free and fair elections next year”, he stated.
The president further congratulated Finland on its 101st independence anniversary, which was yesterday (December 6, 2018) and commended the growing relations with Nigeria, especially in areas of Information Communication Technology (ICT), trade and education.
In his remarks, the ambassador of Finland said the areas of mutual benefit in relations with Nigeria can be extended to electricity, smart technology and crises management initiatives, pointing out that he would work hard to improve the trade figures and other exchanges between the two countries.
“We will like to contribute to Africa rising, and we know that Nigeria is the biggest country on the continent, so we are very interested in the growth of Nigeria,’’ he said.
At the level of the United Nations, Dr Pulkkinen said his country would continue to support the restructuring of the multilateral institution to give greater roles to African countries like Nigeria.
President Buhari, who also received a Letter of Credence from the Ambassador of France, Mr Jerome Pasquier, said French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and the stopover in Lagos, was really impressive in bolstering both countries’ relations.
The president said he was impressed with relations between France and its former colonies in Africa, noting that France continues to play positive roles in promoting security and economic growth in the countries.
“France is investing so much in Nigeria and we are grateful”, he added.
President Buhari, however, called for more support in the fight against terrorism as the networks keep expanding with fighters moving across borders to support insurgents.
In his response, the French ambassador said President Macron would continue to support Nigeria, especially in the ongoing war against terrorism, with specific interest in the gathering and sharing of intelligence.
He commended the president for Nigeria’s role in resolving the crisis in Togo and Guinea Bissau.
President Buhari equally received the Letter of Credence from the Ambassador of Czech Republic, Mr Marek Skolil, assuring him of improved economic relations in the area solid minerals exploration.
On his part, Mr Skolil said his country will continue to support Nigeria’s military in the fight against terrorism in the North East.
“Nigeria is a very important country for us. We look forward to stronger ties, particularly with the armed forces,’’ he added.