Buhari Promises Theresa May Free And Fair Credible Elections In 2019
The President spoke during a bilateral meeting with the visiting Prime Minister at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President welcomed Britain’s support at strengthening democratic institutions in the country.
The statement read in part, “I assure you that I’m all out for free, fair and credible elections. I’m very pleased that my party is doing very well. The High Commissioner will brief you more. The recent successes in polls in Katsina, Bauchi, and Kogi have boosted our morale greatly.
‘‘Nigeria has accepted multiparty democracy and that is putting politicians on their toes, forcing them to work harder,’’ he said.
On the anti-corruption campaign, the President applauded Britain’s support to Nigeria, noting that the success of the fight is very important to ordinary Nigerians.
He said: “We had great opportunities and resources between 1999 and 2014, due to high oil prices. But when we came in 2015, oil prices plunged to as low as 37 dollars per barrel.
‘‘What we have been doing since 2015 is to focus on infrastructure development, despite low earnings. Work is ongoing in roads, rail, power, and many others.”
On Brexit, Buhari noted that it provides an opportunity to strengthen the historic ties between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
‘‘We are nervously watching the development about Brexit because we know that the relationship had been on for a long time. I assure you that I am prepared to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.’’
The President also thanked the UK government for its support on security and the fight against insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, and the improved trade relations between both countries.
‘‘I am very grateful to the British government under you leadership for the help in security, particularly your training team that is in our institution in Kaduna,’’ he said.
Speaking earlier before the bilateral meeting, Buhari underscored the need for UK support on reviving of Lake Chad, which is a means of livelihood for millions of people. The water is said to be drying up, putting at risk fishing, which is the major means of livelihood for many.
The President told the visiting Prime Minister that Europe and China were already conducting an in-depth study on recharging the Lake through inter-basin transfer from the Central African Republic.
May, who welcomed the assurance by the federal government on credible elections in 2019, said she was pleased to be in Abuja to continue the ‘‘excellent discussions’’ she started with President Buhari in London last April, particularly on security, trade, asset recovery and the fight against corruption.
‘‘Security and defence cooperation are very important steps to address Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa,’’ May said.
On asset recovery, the Prime Minister told President Buhari: ‘‘We do not want to hold anything that belongs to Nigerian people, but we follow the judicial process, which can be slow.’’
The Prime Minister urged Buhari to use his position as ECOWAS Chair to keep human trafficking on the front burner in the sub-region.
President Buhari and Prime Minister May witnessed the signing of two agreements: Security and Defence Partnership and Economic Development Forum Agreement.