•Says declared winners must be voters choice
By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, in his avowed resolve to engender a free, fair and credible electoral process.
The President met the INEC boss, other top officials of the electoral body as well as the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, behind closed door at the Presidential Villa.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President charged the Commission to conduct the about 28 reruns slated for this January by the rules without fear or favour.
He said “Those that you declare as winners must be the candidates that the people have chosen. Democracy is about free will, and the will of the people must be allowed to prevail. Get your acts right, and leave no room for underhand tricks or manipulation.”
The President said he was determined to give Nigeria an electoral system that meets the best practices anywhere in the world, and charged the electoral umpire to stick to the rules of fair play and adherence to justice.
From the police, Buhari demanded nothing but a scrupulous securing of the electoral process, without bias or favouritism.
“Our elections must be done in violence-free atmosphere. The process must be free, fair, decent, devoid of intimidation or malpractices. It is the duty of the police to accomplish that, and it is what I expect in the elections immediately ahead, and going forward,” he said.
Both INEC and the police pledged compliance with the rules and regulations, stating that they know President Buhari as someone passionately committed to fair play.