Abuja (NAN) ─ President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said the days when a few politicians could hijack voting materials and manipulate the outcomeof elections to their personal advantage were over in Nigeria.
He stated this on Monday in Washington DC at a meeting with Nigerian professionals in the United States on the sidelines of the ongoing
U.S.-African Leaders Summit.
Jonathan, according to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, says he remains committed to credible elections in the country come 2015.
He said: “The era when a few politicians, acting in concert with their hirelings and thugs to snatch voters cards, ballot papers and other electoral materials, is gone for good in Nigeria.
“I remain fully committed to keeping the promise I made in 2011 that my administration will do everything possible to ensure that the elections in Nigeria become very free, fair and credible.’’
The president emphasised that the pledge had been fulfilled in recent elections in Edo, Ondo and Ekiti.
He said the Federal Government would take steps to ensure that no individual, group or political party was able to thwart the legitimate choice of genuine voters in Saturday’s governorship election in Osun.
“The issue of credible elections must be institutionalised in Nigeria. Our electoral processes were not very good or credible when we came into office.“But as I promised, we have been working very hard to change things and ensure that our elections are more credible, that every legitimate vote counts and that result are acceptable to the electorate.
“I promise you that the Osun governorship elections will be very free, fair and credible,” Jonathan said when he responded to questions and comments on topical issues in Nigeria.
Responding to other concerns raised by the Nigerian professionals, he said that the Federal Government would continue to prioritise policies and programmes that would lead to creation of jobs for Nigerian youths.
“Job creation is a challenge to every government in the world. We are doing all that we can to tackle the problem in Nigerian.
“This is because we know that we have a very youthful population and if we do not create enough jobs to meet their needs, the country will be in trouble.’’
Jonathan also spoke of his administration’s efforts to improve standards and access to educational institutions in Nigeria, address the national housing deficit and further empower women.
He thanked Nigerian professionals abroad for the patriotic support for his government, and urged them to continue to show love and concern for the wellbeing of their fatherland.
“We expect you to continue to add more value to what we are doing and we will continue to engage your services and expertise when we can.
“This is very crucial because if we do not, the valuable education and skills you have acquired will be of no benefit to the development of our country.’’
The president later received and commended young Nigerians who are participating in the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.
It is a leadership programme sponsored by the United States government to train young African professionals in American universities, government departments and private sector.
Out of the 500 places on the programme, 45 were won by young Nigerians in a competitive selection process, the statement said.