The Federal Government, has welcomed the statements from the United States of America, USA, and the United Kingdom, UK, demanding credible and peaceful elections in Nigeria, and threatening punitive measures against those caught perpetrating election malpractices.
In a statement issued in Ilorin, on Friday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that the Federal Government is delighted that the statements came after it alerted the nation to the alleged machinations of some opposition elements, who it claimed were working to scuttle the 2019 polls, through widespread violence.
Recall, that the United States and the United Kingdom, had on Thursday, announced repercussions, including visa restriction, for election interference and election-related violence.
They threatened to restrict masterminds of violence and their family members, during the forthcoming elections, from visiting the US and UK.
In a joint statement in Abuja, the two nations stressed that the upcoming elections are important not only to Nigeria, but to the African continent.
The United States Government, stressed that it does not support any specific Candidate or party, in Nigeria’s upcoming elections.
“The United States supports the Nigerian democratic process itself. We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful Electoral process.”
While welcoming the positions of the two countries, the Minister said that the Federal Government had equally alerted the nation, that the there were some members of the opposition, that he claimed were planning to scuttle the forthcoming elections.
Lai Mohammed maintained in his statement, on Friday, that: “A few days ago, we alerted the nation to the plot by the opposition, to orchestrate widespread violence in the country, using insurgents and criminal elements, within and outside the country.
“Their plan is to scuttle the elections, and then push for an interim government, having realised they cannot win a free, fair, credible, and peaceful election.
“We urge them to keep a close tab on the desperate opposition, whose language, actions, and undisguised threats, are antithetical to the conduct of peaceful polls.”
Lai Mohammed said that Nigerians and the International community, should take seriously the assurance of a credible and violence-free election, that he said had been consistently given by President Muhammadu Buhari, who he described as a tried-and-tested Democrat and a globally-acclaimed man of integrity.
He revealed that the All Progressives Congress-led administration, “is very confident of victory in the forthcoming elections”, adding that, a party that was not so desperate as to rig elections, while in opposition, had no business rigging election or perpetrating violence, now that it is in power and “is enjoying massive support from the citizenry”.
The Minister, called on the international community to keep a close eye on those who he said are spending more time on a dubious strategy to scuttle the polls, than campaigning to win in a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful elections.
According to him: “As their campaign flounders and their strategies collapse, they have resorted to seeking power by subterfuge.
“That is why they are doing everything possible to discredit an election that has yet to be held, by unleashing their attack dogs on the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Police, and the entire Electoral process.
“On our part, we have confidence in the Electoral process, and the Institutions saddled with organising and securing the election. That is why we have been busy campaigning vigorously across the country, attracting unprecedented, organic crowds, everywhere we go.
“The party that has a history of rigging polls, is well known to Nigerians. The party that has a history of using Security Forces to unleash violence, in order to steal the people’s votes, is well known to Nigerians.
“The party that organised an election that was later described as flawed by its own ‘winning’ Presidential Candidate, is well known to Nigerians. That party is not the APC.”