President Muhammadu Buhari says that the will of the people must always drive the democratic architecture of the country. He made this known in Abuja on Thursday at the opening of a two-day Election Security Management Workshop, organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser. The President, therefore, promised to ensure that security agencies involved in the conduct of the 2019 general elections perform their duties professionally to enable the electorate exercise their franchise. Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, the President said that the success of the forthcoming elections would partly depend on the professionalism demonstrated by security agencies. Buhari added that positive changes had been implemented in the nation’s electoral laws to strengthen electoral processes. He explained that the changes were to ensure that voters were not disenfranchised by the action or inaction of actors or institutions charged with the responsibility of driving the process. He said, “As President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I am committed to upholding the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, as this is sacred pathway toward our democracy.”
The President noted that, “This had been demonstrated in the successes that INEC recorded in Ekiti, Anambra, Ondo and Edo governorship elections, as well as bye-elections in some other states. “Therefore, the sanctity of the process must be upheld by all political parties and other stakeholders across political party divide if the country is to attain its full potential.’’ He recalled his acceptance speech in April 2015 where he affirmed commitment to promote credible elections devoid of interference in the work of INEC. Buhari said that those assertions were informed by the conviction that no nation could advance its democratic culture under a security orientation that had no assurance for the safety of the electorate and their votes. The President, therefore, reassured the international community that Nigeria would continue to advance its democratic credentials within the global space. He added that “indeed, Nigeria’s commitment to democratic values underscores the leadership roles the country demonstrated in the enhancement of the democratic processes in Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Niger, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau.” He reiterated confidence in INEC’s competence to conduct credible elections in 2019.