President Muhammadu Buhari, in the course of the week, delivered what has been described in some quarters as ‘powerful political message’ as he publicly displayed his ballot paper during Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari openly displayed the ballot paper, with thumb print for the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) Presidential Candidate, Sen. Bola Tinubu, as rare show of loyalty and support.
A statement by the President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, defended the president’s action, saying after campaigning for the political leader (Tinubu) in many parts of the country, he has reaffirmed on his preferred successor.
The president assured that he had always supported the candidature of Tinubu, and the show of his ballot paper to the media and the public had further shown his commitment to the party and the national leader.
Buhari, who cast his vote alongside his wife, Mrs Aisha Buhari, and other family members, at Ward A, Sarkin Yara Polling Unit 003, said it was a pity that only one female emerged as gubernatorial candidate of the APC, Aisha Binani, urging support for the candidate.
NAN observed that the president won his polling unit in the Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections for the APC candidates.
The APC presidential flagbearer, Sen. Bola Tinubu, won with 523 votes as against the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who came second with three votes at the polling unit.
The candidates of the NNPP and Labour Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Peter Obi, recorded zero votes.
Prior to leaving Abuja for Katsina on Thursday, Buhari had summoned a Security Council Meeting where he met with heads of security agencies to intimate them on the need to protect the electorate, ensure hitch-free and fair elections.
NAN reports that the Nigerian leader used the opportunity of the meeting to inaugurate security equipment valued at over N12 billion donated to the Military and Nigeria Police Force by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
The items were donated by the Coalition of Private Sector Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) – a group of eminent Nigerian industrialists, including Aliko Dangote and Herbert Wigwe, who had also pooled N40 billion to combat COVID-19 in the country.
Buhari also witnessed the signing of the Second Peace Accord for the 2023 Presidential election at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He urged candidates contesting elections at all levels to respect the choice of voters and accept the result of the elections as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Buhari reminded the political class and their supporters that INEC is the agency empowered by law to announce the results.
The president also met with the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja, where he was assured of the commission’s readiness and commitment to conduct free and fair general elections on Feb. 25 and March 11, 2023.
In the build up to the elections, Buhari had in February 2022 signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.
He had also repeatedly vowed to bequeath an electoral process that would be adjudged credible and transparent.
While in Daura, Buhari met with members of the bereaved family of late Sen. Abba Ali, his friend and decades-long associate, to share their common loss of ”a man who diligently served Nigeria”.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, in a statement, said the family members, including the children of the deceased, were led to the President by the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i, on Friday in Daura. (NAN)