President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday this year’s general elections would not be “a do-or-die affair”, telling Nigerians to go to the polls without trepidation.
He also said his government was committed to conducting free, fair and credible elections.
Buhari said some persons were spreading “falsehoods” and creating bad blood in the country, believing that doing so would upstage him at the presidential poll.
He said such persons were “fighting a losing battle”.
The President stated these in his New Year message.
Buhari, who described 2018 as a year of mixed blessings for the country, said he was hopeful that this year would be much better.
On the elections starting on February 16, Buhari stated, “2019 will be an election year for us. In about two months, the polls are due, and we will elect leaders to various offices, at national and state levels.
“As I welcome you into 2019, I also reiterate my many promises and declarations that the general elections will be free, fair and credible.
“Elections need not be a do-or-die affair, and we should not approach that eventuality in a democracy with trepidation and mortal fear. Happily, a large number of presidential candidates have committed to peace, and peace we shall have.
“Those who continue to trumpet falsehood and negativity are on their own, fighting a losing battle. The greater number of Nigerians are trusting and believing that we shall deliver on our promises for a level playing field at the polls, and that is what we shall do.”
Buhari said he would unfold his New Year’s plans, adding that Nigeria desired peace for the much-need economic and infrastructural development to be delivered to the citizenry.
He added, “We Nigerians are a religious people, and we believe that God reigns and rules in the affairs of men. A time like this offers a precious opportunity for thanksgiving, stocktaking and reflection on the goals and targets set for the receding year, and how much was accomplished. The ones not done can then be rolled over into a new year.
“The dawn of a new year is also a time to look forward. To consider new prospects, unfold our plans, and prepare for landmark dates and events.
“Nigerians desire peace, security, prosperity, inclusiveness and infrastructural development, a nation they can be proud of, a country that can hold its own among nations.
“That is the journey we have embarked on since we came on board in 2015, and we are not distracted as we move on.
“We are resolved to build a country in which the resources are utilised for the benefit of the largest number, and not appropriated by a privileged few in their never-ending quest to satisfy their greed.
“We are on this mission together, and I assure you of a firm commitment to the ideals of a safe, secure, fair, just and prosperous country.”