By Lawrence Olaoye
Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Prof. Rufai Alkali, has called on Nigerians to protect and defend the nation’s democracy against some desperate politicians working to undermine democratic governance in the country.
Fielding questions from journalists in his Abuja office at the weekend, Alkali declared that President Goodluck Jonathan has transformed the electoral process to a level where every vote counts and Nigerians must build on these gains.
According to him, “Since the President has committed himself to provide a level playing field, it is our own duty also to follow suit. So far, PDP has been giving the lead and we have evidence to show that over the past three years or more, every effort has been made to entrench a system of open accountability in the electoral system.
“You people are living witnesses on several occasions when Mr. President, during the 2011 election and subsequently at every opportunity he had to speak, he has said two things on two different levels.
“One, he has said that as far as he was concerned any of his ambition is not worth the blood of any citizen in this country. He has said that repeatedly and when Mr. President speaks, I believe he speaks from his heart.
“Secondly, the mantra we used in the previous election has been, as the President has called it himself, one man one vote, one woman one vote, one youth one vote.
“So we thought that the line has been drawn, that issues of violence should not be part of our democratic culture at all. Issue of do or die should not be part of our democratic culture again.
Alkali also called on the youths to be vigilant against some desperate politicians who may want to use them during election saying those politicians never meant well for them.
“We want urge self-restraint especially among our youths.”
He emphasized the President Jonathan has also made INEC independent and free from external influency and control as part of the electoral reform process.
“Today you know it very clearly that Prof Attahiru Jega does not report to the President of this country. You all know it and you also know that there is not a single card-carrying member of PDP in INEC headquarters.
“You also know that all the other modalities for running elections, at least, so far government has given maximum support in terms of funding and other logistics.
“Therefore this is open invitation for people to also play their card properly. Politicians should put Nigeria first; we should put our country first and put our people first. Also remember that this our democracy we must protect it and defend it.”