The United States government has declared its support for democracy and not any political candidate ahead of Nigeria’s Presidential election on the 25th.
U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee said this in Lagos at a discourse on Youth participation in the democratic process.
In 14 days, Nigeria will head to the polls to elect her 5th president out of 18 candidates jostling to occupy the Aso Rock villa.
As practised in previous elections since 1999, the United States government has consistently shown its interest in Nigeria’s democratic process, supporting in the shadows and hoping the giant of Africa will once again prove to the world that it remains committed to upholding unwavering democratic system of governance.
This panel focused its discussion with Nigerian celebrities and officials of the U.S government on youth participation in Nigeria”s democratic process.
The youths make up the largest voting bloc in the election, according to statistics from INEC and they have promised to make their strength in numbers count.
With the countdown snowballing into days, Nigerians, especially the youths, can’t wait for another four years to make what they say is the right choice.
MAMMOTH CROWD WELCOMES TINUBU IN SOKOTO
President Muhammadu Buhari has again drummed support for the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, describing him as his long term ally.
Speaking at the palace of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, and at the APC rally in Sokoto, capital of Sokoto State, the President said Tinubu had demonstrated capacity, adding that he will do well if elected.
He said: “He understands Nigeria very well and he is ever supportive of people wherever they may have come from in Nigeria.
“I have gone with him to Nasarawa and Katsina and I am here with him today. I will also go with him to any other place. He is the candidate of our party. He emerged from a clearly transparent primary election. We therefore, have to follow him as the flagbearer of the party.”
Appealing to the Sultan for support, the president said: “We are here to seek support and help. I am sure we will get the needed help.”
President Buhari, who was visibly elated, expressed appreciation to the crowd for the rousing reception.
Some opposition party leaders, including top-ranking office holders in the Governor Aminu Tambuwal-led government, renounced their membership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to pledge allegiance to the APC.
They were introduced by the Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, in his capacity as the Chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) and received by the party’s National Chairman Abdullahi Adamu.
Presenting Tinubu to the electorate at the Giginya Memorial Stadium, the President urged them to support the APC candidate.
At both the palace and at the rally, Tinubu expressed appreciation to the leaders and people of Sokoto for the warm reception, promising to acquit himself creditably if given the mandate.
Describing Sokoto as a home for him, the APC candidate urged voters to disregard the antics of other candidates.
Tinubu said: “In 2015, the new leaders came to sweep the dirt away with a broom. But the dirt is still left on the ground. We said we need to clean some more. I applied to be the vacuum-cleaner so that we can clean the dirt.
”We promised we will work hard. We will eliminate corruption. We will eradicate the madness called kidnapping. We will work hard to clean Nigeria of rubbish.
“We promise you better education, job opportunities and better market for our agricultural produce that will make you and your children happy.”
Tinubu’s running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, challenged PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to name eight projects he accomplished in the North and eight persons he mentored in his eight years as vice president.
He admonished the people to disregard the PDP’s sectional campaign that voters should vote one of their own, saying Atiku was only there for his pockets.
Speaking on why the North should vote for Tinubu, Shettima described him as a good man who has always stood by prominent sons of the region.
Quoting a Quranic verse, Shettima added: “The reward for goodness is goodness. He has supported many of our people from Shehu Musa Yar’Adua to Atiku Abubakar in 2007, Nuhu Ribadu in 2011, President Buhari in 2015 and in 2019. We are good people. We are trustworthy. He supported our people, it is our time to reciprocate.
“We should come together and acquit ourselves as people of honour who keep their words.”
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum Senator Atiku Bagudu and APC National Chairman Senator Abdullahi Adamu appealed to voters to back the APC candidates.
The duo said that Tinubu and Shettima, if elected, would deploy their experiences as former senators and governors in governance.
Tinubu and Shettima have legislative and executive experiences, the National Assembly leaders told the mammoth crowd of APC faithful.
The host and APC leader in Sokoto, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, assured both President Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu of massive victory for the party at the polls.
He said the Sokoto APC had received many defectors who were dissatisfied with the PDP government in the state. Wamakko presented thousands of defectors into the APC, including a prominent philanthropist, Alhaji Umarun Kwabo AA (Jarman Sokoto).
Other dignitaries and party leaders who attended the rally included Governors Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) as well as former governors Saidu Dakin Gari (Kebbi), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) and MA Abubakar (Bauchi).
Others were Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi; Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare; APC Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari, and members of the National Assembly.
The governorship candidate, Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, said PDP had failed the people in all aspects of governance.
Sokoto said that Wamakko was the secret behind the sprawling wave of support the APC had in the state.
He added: “He has continued to woo unflinching support for the party been a man of the people with listening ears and easily accessible to all classes of persons.”
Sokoto said he would build on Wamakko’s legacies and improve the lots of the people by enhancing welfare, improving agricultural activities, education, skills acquisition, youths and women empowerment as well water supply and healthcare.
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said the strength of the APC was overwhelming, noting that Tinubu has the rare qualities to lead Nigeria.
Sultan Abubakar III declared that being an apolitical father of all and custodian of culture, he would continue to receive everyone that sought the blessing of the throne, telling President Buhari that many had come before him for the same purpose while many more would still come.
He said: “We will continue to pray for our nation. We cannot be tired of praying and will continue to advocate for peaceful and free elections in our fatherland.”
He assured President Buhari that the Caliphate was behind him as he sought to ensure free and fair elections, noting that the President’s commitment to be present at the next signing of the Peace Accord by the political parties, underscored his administration’s desire to bequeath to the nation a credible electoral process.