President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State for winning the just-concluded governorship election.
Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement on Friday, said the Nigerian leader made this known while hosting the PDP candidate and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, who paid him an appreciation visit at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The President said he had to order INEC and the Nigerian Police to observe strict adherence to professional standards during the election. He said his desire has always been to make sure that innocent Nigerians don’t suffer regardless of party affiliation.
“I thank you for bringing your deputy and supporters to come and see me after beating my party. I am supposed to preside over all Nigerian interests whether I like it or not, but my single desire is to make sure that innocent people don’t suffer. That message I got across to the Inspector General of Police that elections must be free and fair,” he said.
“If contestants have too much money and they decide to spray, so be it. But what I insist is, nobody should go and raise a counterforce to the government, arm heavily-drugged thugs to go and humiliate people.”
“I want Nigerians to appreciate that I respect them as Nigerians and that I am bound by the oath I have taken, that their security is in the hands of God and in the hands of the government, which I am leading.”
President Buhari noted that as the leader of the governing party, and despite the fact that the party has lost some states in elections, he wishes to leave behind a political culture based on integrity.
“We have lost states across the country. Now I do not like to escape the responsibility, seeing as the leader of the country, I am also the leader of my party, that I am not leading the party very well.
“I am trying to make sure that the party is built on a civilised basis, rule of law and respect for human rights and human beings, right from polling units to local governments, to states up to Abuja and that’s what I have been insisting as my contribution to the National Working Committee and executive of the party.
“I know we are a developing country, a developing economy and trying to develop our political culture. I want the development of political culture to be based on integrity and accountability. Let people work very hard and earn what they are looking for through their hard work and through fair competition,” the President said.