Presidency to El-Rufai: Buhari committed to credible polls

Gov. Nasir El-rufai, Buhari

.Says no candidate is favoured over another

By Ukpono Ukpong

The Federal Government has said that President Muhammadu Buhari has shown by words and by deeds that he is committed to free, fair and credible election.

Minister of Culture and Information, Lai Mohammed said this while responding to questions from State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Meeting (FEC), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja about the comment by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai that some elements in the Presidential Villa were working against the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.

Lai Mohammed explained that fair, free, credible elections means not favouring anybody or disadvantaging any candidate which is what President Buhari stands for.

“On a more serious note, one thing I can assure you is that no matter what, this administration is focused, determine to ensure a free and fair elections. But I think with this administration the most important person is Mr. President and I think he has shown by words and by indeed that he is dedicated to free, fair and credible election.

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And fair, free, credible elections actually means not favouring anybody or disadvantaging anybody. And everywhere he goes he makes that very clear even as recently as Friday when he was in Daura, he said the same thing. If there’s anybody working against a candidate we don’t know officially.”

Reacting to the recent rating of Nigeria by the Transparency International, the Information minister said Nigeria is not fighting corruption because we want to impression Transparency International or any organization whatsoever, rather the FG is fighting corruption to ensure growth in the country.

“We are not fighting corruption because we want to impression Transparency International or any organization whatsoever. We’re fighting corruption because we believe if we do not fight corruption, there’ll be no growth either in terms of the economy or even political.

“Therefore, what we do and what we’re putting in place to fight corruption is not because we want to be rated by anybody. If, for instance, what we’re doing catches the attention of transparency international and the improve and give us better marks, so we’ll and go. However, I can assure you that we do not know what template TI is using. Whatever template they’re using is clearly oblivious of what this administration is doing, to fight corruption.

“Corruption fighting is not just by how many people have you arrested? How many people have you tried? How many people have you convicted? Of course even in that respect, we have a very impressive record.

Is it the EFCC or is it the ICPC? If you look at what we’re doing even to make corrupt practices, almost impossible or difficult…I’ll just give you two examples, for instance, this administration when funds were returned from the Abacha loot and other funds were recovered from the USD, the UK and Europe, what this administration did, was that rather than pay these funds into the treasury and face the possibility of it being stolen or being relooted, the administration decided that we will put this money into a separate account and ask the National Sovereign Investment Fund to manage these funds, and we used this money for specific projects.

“Some of our legacy projects today, actually are being financed from our money that have been stolen, which were returned and which we have kept. To me, this is one example of how to fight corruption. An example of how to ensure that people do not steal what has been recovered again.

“I make proud to say that we have been more proactive in fighting corruption and people are not willing to see what we have put in place in fighting corruption. And that’s why I gave that example of putting aside money aside and how those funds are being used. Again, the courage of this administration even to expose high ranking officials of administration who have ran foul of the law, is evidence of our determination and courage to fight corruption.

“So, we are not really worried or bothered about rating of the TI, because we know that everything we do is to ensure that we fight corruption the best way we know how to do. Like I said, if TI are not seeing this, then again, I think they have to change their template. But again, we’re not fighting corruption to impress them.” he said.

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