Ahead of the general elections next February, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday that he is fully committed to make the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC) to be truly ‘Independent’.
The president reiterated the commitment in his speech to mark Nigeria’s 58th Independence anniversary.
‘I have committed myself many times to ensure that elections are fully participatory, free and fair and that the Independent National Electoral Commission will be exactly INDEPENDENT and properly staffed and resourced. The ballot box is how we make our choice for the governments that rule in our name.
“Developing a thriving democracy is not an easy task. There can be no quick fixes or short cuts. These are the most important lessons that we have learnt in our 58 years as an independent nation”, he said.
Perhaps with the pestilence of fake news and people inflaming ethnic passions and divisions on his mind, Buhari seized on the occasion to warn citizens not to misuse the technology now “in our hands”.
“Now we have in our hands technology that is a powerful tool that we can and should use for knowledge and understanding. As with other countries, we must also learn how to manage those tendencies that, instead, look to abuse new technologies to provoke passions and stir tensions.
“Never before have we faced such a challenge. We must all rise to the responsibility of shutting out those disruptive and corrosive forces that hide in today’s world of social media. We need critical minds and independent thinking, to question and question until we are satisfied we have the facts. Otherwise, all the progress we have made as a democracy since 1999 is at stake”, he said.