By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari says he believes in the will of the people and cannot put pressure on voters to elect leaders they do not like.
Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Friday, dismissed insinuations that he was forcing voters to elect candidates other than those they preferred during the supplementary elections scheduled for 17 states on March 23.
The president said at no time did he give instructions that the electorate should vote particular candidates.
The President assured Nigerians that he was ready to work with elected representatives of the people regardless of party platforms on which they were elected.
President Buhari said he would work in the best interest of the country and democracy.
President Buhari, who thanked voters for re-electing him for a second term in office, said he would never forget their sacrifices in defying harsh weather conditions to vote for him.
He said: ‘‘I was deeply overwhelmed by your show of incredible confidence in me, and I will never let you down.
“Thank you for your sincere show of support for me.’’
President Buhari, however, appealed to voters not to get tired of coming out to vote in the supplementary elections, adding ‘‘these elections are no less important than others before them.’’
He appealed to voters to vote for the candidates they believed would deliver on promises because “it is your constitutionally guaranteed democratic rights.
President Buhari also called on INEC and security agencies to ensure that the supplementary elections are conducted peacefully and in accordance with the law and constitution.
He, therefore, called on the electorate to come out en masse and participate in the supplementary elections.