Nigerian leader warns against dirty politics ahead of 2019 polls


LAGOS, Jan. 1 – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Monday said politicians must avoid exploiting ethnicity and religion by linking ethnicity with religion and religion with politics as the electioneering season nears.

The president, who made his position known in a broadcast to the nation in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, emphasized that such dirty politics should be avoided at all costs if Nigerians must live in harmony.

“In this respect, the rest of Nigeria could learn from the Southwestern States which have successfully internalized religion, ethnicity and politics,” he added.

According to him, political discourse should be conducted with civility, decorum and in a constitutional manner.

“We all have a collective responsibility to strengthen our democracy and entrench the rule of law,” he said.

“We should draw encouragement from the series of by-elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last year which were generally violence free and their outcomes adjudged to be free and fair,” the president added.

Nigeria is scheduled to hold general elections in February 2019.

The elections should be held not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days to the end of the incumbent’s tenure, according to Nigeria’s Constitution.

On security, the president reassured the citizens that security of life and property was still at top of his administration’s agenda.

“We have since beaten Boko Haram,” he said.

“Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America,” he added.

According to him, the All Progressives Congress-led government remains determined to protect all Nigerians in line with its election pledge and promises.

He said terrorism and urban crimes were worldwide phenomena and the security forces were continuously adapting their responses to changing threats.

With regard to rampant cases of kidnappings, President Buhari said the government had taken “immediate short-term measures to combat this new evil creeping into societies.”

He revealed that tighter police methods and swift and severe punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping would soon be adopted to check the menace.

(Copyright Xinhua via National News Agency, 2018)