President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday promised that he would ensure free and fair elections in 2019.
He noted that he will not cheat because he knows what it is like to be cheated, adding that he would provide level-playing field for all aspirants.
According to Buhari, the elections he contested in the past before 2015 were awarded to the incumbent to deny him victory.
Mr. President stated this at the Presidential Villa in Abuja when he received a delegation led by Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield from the International Republican and National Democratic Institute, United States of America.
“I am glad you are here to assess our pre-election preparations. It reminds me of the visit by the then Secretary of State, John Kerry, before the 2015 polls. We appreciate the concern of America for stability in developing countries.
“Having run for President three times, ending up at the Supreme Court all three times, before God and technology made a way for me the fourth time, I know what it is to be cheated at the polls.
“What they used to do was just to award votes and tell anyone who was dissatisfied to go to court. But we won’t do that. I am prepared to give the opposition the opportunities I was not given in the past.”
He further assured the delegation that he had ordered all heads of security agencies to be professional in their work.
Buhari also spoke on his government’s achievements so far in the areas of anti-corruption, insecurity and economic recovery.
“We have done fairly well in the areas we focussed on. We know how many local government areas in the North-East were under Boko Haram occupation before we came. That does not happen again, save for cowardly attacks, using young girls as suicide bombers.
“Other areas of security challenge like farmers/herdsmen clashes are receiving attention, and will be sorted out as much as possible.”
He further noted that the reason why he did not sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, was because of the time it came.
“Time is against us. We are extremely vulnerable, and need to be careful that messages are not hijacked and figures tampered with, while being transmitted electronically, he said.
Greenfield however told President Buhari that the delegation had met with various civil society and political groups in the country, saying that most concerns raised by these groups were the partisan role of the security agencies during polls, the president’s refusal to sign the Electoral Bill and compromise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).