By Ismaila Chafe
The Presidency says the UN prediction that Nigeria’s 2019 elections will be credible and violence-free is yet another indication of the world’s confidence in the country’s current administration.
Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, after a UN official, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambers, made the prediction in a Channels TV interview on Sunday.
Chambers, the Head of UN Office for West Africa, had cited recently concluded local government elections in different states, which he described as `credible and peaceful’ as one of the indices to judge what to expect from the presidential elections in 2019.
The presidential aide, therefore, expressed delight over the world body’s accurate observation of the trend in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, which could only lead to free and fair elections come 2019.
He said:“the Buhari government doesn’t believe in cheap propaganda.
“It’s not about responding to attacks, false allegations and insinuations.
“We believe in taking active steps to ensure that the future of Nigeria is better than it is today and we are glad to see that the UN has acknowledged this.”
Shehu observed that under the current administration, a number of credible elections had been conducted in states and local governments across Nigeria “and so far, there has been no cause for fear or worry.”
He attributed the successful conduct of the 2015 elections, which saw the historic election of President Buhari, to the presence and diligence of the immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega.
He added that the exercise was the first time in Nigeria, and one of the rare occasions in Africa when an incumbent was soundly defeated in an election.
“At one of its meetings, the Council of States last year put on record the appreciation of the nation for the conduct of the 2015 elections and commended the leadership of Prof. Jega as Chairman of the Commission for bringing that about,” the SSA said.
He said that in addition to the steadfastness of INEC, ECOWAS, AU, EU and UN, other international bodies also had to be on guard to ensure that things were done appropriately.
According to him, the international community will have nothing to fear come 2019, saying that already the UN has sensed that several months in advance.