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2019: Buhari raises alarm, says election under threat

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…My husband destined to be President –Titi Abubakar
…Any vote not for Buhari, a waste-Gen. Bajowa

President Muhammadu Buhari has raised the alarm that the 2019 presidential election, slated for February 16 may be under threats following his allegation that some corrupt elements who are bent on clinching power by all means are mobilizing ill-gotten wealth to buy votes.

He said the development may even threaten the nation’s democracy, especially as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has raised concerns over laundered money being funneled into vote buying.

The President’s concern towards Saturday’s Presidential election where he and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and other candidates are expected to slug it out was echoed in a statement which he personally signed and made available to State House Correspondents on Sunday morning.

“On February 16th, Nigeria will hold a general election. Four years ago, the country experienced its first democratic transfer of power to the opposition since 1999. The vote in a few days will be no less significant.

“As president, I have tried to judiciously exercise the trust vested in me to combat the problems of corruption, insecurity and an inequitable economy. All are important. But amongst them, one stands above the others as both a cause and aggravator of the rest. It is, of course, corruption.

“A policy programme that does not have fighting corruption at its core is destined to fail. The battle against graft must be the base on which we secure the country, build our economy, provide decent infrastructure and educate the next generation.”This is the challenge of our generation: the variable on which our success as a nation shall be determined. But the vested interests at play can make this fight difficult. By way of their looting, the corrupt have powerful resources at their disposal. And they will use them. For when you fight corruption, you can be sure it will fight back.

“It even threatens to undermine February’s poll and – by extension – our democracy. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has raised concerns over laundered money being funnelled into vote buying. This is the problem of corruption writ large. It illustrates how it lurks in all and every crevice of public life, manipulating due process in pursuit of self-preservation and perpetuation; protecting personal political and economic interests at the expense of the common good”, the statement read in part.

According to Buhari, those who are criticizing his administration’s anti-corruption drive are those who oppose its mission. And though their lawyers may craft expensive alibis, they cannot escape that which binds them together: a raft of documents and barely legal (some clearly illegal) mechanisms – whether that be the Panama Papers, US Congress reports, shell companies or offshore bank accounts.

The President argued that corruption corrodes the trust on which the idea of community is founded, because one rule for the few and another for everyone else is unacceptable to anyone working honestly.

He said because he has intensified the war on corruption, he has found to his amazement that corruption innovates to resist the law. This is not the sole domain of those Nigerians, but the international corruption industry: the unsavoury fellow-traveller of globalisation.

“Once the enablers are let in – as they have been in the past – the greed of those they collude with grows. We have closed the door on them, but unfortunately there still remain individuals who are willing to open windows.

“Concrete progress has been made, but there is still much to do. We have repatriated hundreds of millions of dollars stowed away in foreign banks. These funds have been transparently deployed on infrastructural projects and used to directly empower the poorest in society.

“More is still to come from our international partners in France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Yet the hundreds of billions sifted out of the country for the best part of this century promise more.

“We have secured high profile convictions, but greater cases remain. Lawyers table endless objections to obstruct court proceedings, whilst their clients hope it lasts until a ‘friendly’ president is voted into office. We must continue to tighten the legal framework and ensure the authorities have the investigative powers at their disposal to secure sentences. Only then will we begin to neutralise the advantages the corrupt have, “he noted.He vowed that more ghost workers would be removed from government payroll as almost $550 million has been saved from identifying phantom employees.

In addition, more funds will be recovered through the whistle-blower policy as $370 million has been returned since its launch in 2016.

“More is still to come. But, together, we shall prevail over corruption. A Yoruba proverb states that only the patient one can milk a lion. Likewise, victory over corruption is difficult, but not impossible. We must not flounder in our resolve.“I know many Nigerians would like to see faster action. So do I. But so too must we follow due process and exercise restraint, ensuring allegation never takes the place of evidence. For that is not the Nigeria we should wish to build.

“There is no doubt that this administration has changed the way we tackle corruption. The choice before voters is this: Do we continue forward on this testing path against corruption? Or do revert to the past, resigned to the falsehood that it is just the-way-things-are-done? Or that it is just too difficult – too pervasive – to fix? I know which one I would choose. It is why I am asking Nigerians for another four years to serve them“,Buhari stated.

Meanwhile, retired Major-Gen. Olu Bajowa who is the Chairman of Legacy Forum, a unit of the Buhari support organization, says that any vote not for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election will be a waste come February 16 poll.Bajowa stated this at Igbotako during a stakeholders’ meeting of the All Progressives congress (APC) across the 13 wards of Okitipupa Local Government of Ondo State.

The meeting was in furtherance of Gen. Bajowa’s bid to ensure massive grassroots votes are garnered for President Buhari, who is seeking a second term in office in the Feb. 16 election.Legacy Forum has been in the forefront of the campaign for the sustainability of good governance which the body maintains that the Buhari government stands for.

The chairman of the group appealed to all and sundry to deliver their individual votes for Buhari/ Osinbajo, saying the duo were better positioned to take the country out of the woods.The retired General enjoined voters in the forthcoming election to cast their votes to Buhari so that there would be landslide victory, assuring that the president would not disappoint Nigerian populace if reelected.

According to him, opinions and other parameters are indicating victory for the president.He noted that the group had been sensitising the public about the need for Nigerians to support the Buhari presidency so that “the next level” would become achievable for all Nigerians.

The chairman stated that President Buhari had a lot of things working in his favour among which are: integrity and accountability, good governance and anti corruption posture, ensuring security and infrastructure drive which was equal to none.

Bajowa flanked by his wife, Mrs Yemi Bajowa, urged electorate not to sell their votes and that they should shun violence, saying ‘politics is not do or die affair’.”My advice is that people should not sell their votes as vote buying and selling amount to trading off peoples’ future and that of their children.

“On the day of the election, electorate should vote and not fight and but guard their votes jealously ,” Bajowa said.Also speaking, Mr. Bode Ikulala, the APC chairman in the local government area, thanked the Legacy Forum and Bajowa for associating with the party at this auspicious time.

Ikulala added that the party at the local council area, state level and the national level would not forget the depth of support given by the retired General.He reassured him that the party was very popular in the grassroots and that they would go with the progressives than associating with those who had stolen the country blind in the time past.

The meeting had in attendance all APC ward executives in the 13 wards of the local government area.But Mrs. Titi Atiku Abubakar, wife of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have insisted that her husband is destined to win next Saturday’s presidential election and go on to lead the country as its president.

Titi, during a visit to a chieftain of the party, Chief Bode Olajumoke, in Lagos, described her husband as a child of destiny.“This is not his first time he will be wanting to be president but God has said it is now his time to be president,” she said.
“When they went for primaries in Port Harcourt, not many people thought it was going to be Atiku that will emerge as the PDP presidential candidate. But he came tops and became the party’s flag-bearer. This happened because he is a child of destiny.

“My husband has come to rescue Nigeria from the shackles of these people. Atiku promised women 30 percent slots in government. Also, he said he will ensure that 40 per cent goes to the youth. He is going to introduce micro credit schemes to help the women and the youth. He is going to win next Saturday’s presidential election and go on to lead the country as its president,” she said.

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