The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari did not confer any advantage on his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during the Feb. 25 Presidential election.
Mohammed briefed State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister made clarifications of his comments during a recent official trip to the U.S.
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“I went to the U.S. to balance the skewed report about the just concluded elections; and everywhere I went, I said very unambiguously that the last general elections in Nigeria are the most transparent.
“It was the freest and the most authentic Nigeria had ever held, and that is despite the effort of the opposition to delegitimize the election.
“And I put forward my position there that the two reasons the election was the best were one.
“The introduction of technology especially, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System(BVAS), made it pretty difficult for anybody to do the usual things before like over-voting, stuffing of ballot boxes, and the likes because once it takes your biometrics; you cannot vote twice.’’
He said, more so, that the president promised that he would provide a level playing ground which he did.
“The first instance was that the president did not confer any advantage on his ruling party; and that why as far as he was concerned, he would rather lose the election than win at all cost; and the result showed it.’’
Mohammed said that the president lost in his own state, Kastina, in the presidential election.
He said that it had never happened in Nigeria before—for a sitting president to lose the election in his own state.
The minister said he told his audience in the U.S. that the president prevented the use of security agencies to rig elections.
He said that the last election was largely the least violent in the history of Nigeria.
Mohammed affirmed that what he said about Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate was very clear.
“I said Obi has every right to seek redress in court like Labour party but nobody has the right to call for insurrection or to threaten to say that if the president-elect is sworn-in, that would be the end of democracy.
“And that was precisely what Obi’s running mate said on live television and I have not heard Obi rein him in or correct him; so, if your running mate says something; of course, he was saying it on behalf of the party and on behalf of the candidate.
“That is why I said that was treason; for anybody to say that if a duly elected president in Nigeria is sworn in, that will be the end of democracy is treason; for anybody to say if you swear in a duly elected president, you are swearing the military, it is treason.
“ So, I don’t see anything controversial in that,’’ he said.