…As Again, Buhari urges Nigerians to vote***
Nigeria Air Force (NAF) on Friday said it has deployed surveillance aircrafts to monitor proceedings during the general election across the country.
NAF spokesman Ibikunle Daramola disclosed this in a statement.
He said Nigeria’s Chief of the Air Staff Sadique Abubakar during a meeting sensitised all six commands of the force about their operations while using the aircrafts during the polls.
Daramola explained that the surveillance aircraft and other NAF aircraft will be used for support operations during the elections.
The NAF spokesman stated that the aircraft will be deployed to potential flashpoints to provide real-time imagery intelligence that would be streamed live to the HQ NAF Situation Room as well as Command Situation/Operations Rooms across the country.
Daramola said Abubakar had spoken on the need to ensure they remain apolitical whilst carrying out their duties of providing support to the Nigeria Police and other civil security agencies, in ensuring peaceful conduct of the elections.
He said, “Air Marshal Abubakar used the opportunity to again remind the PSOs and AOCs to ensure that NAF Personnel are professional and decisive in the discharge of their duties.”
He also urged NAF personnel to work very closely with other security agencies to ensure that no individual or group of individuals undermine the electoral process as commanders would be held personally responsible for any lapses.
Abubakar reiterated that personnel must remain apolitical and sternly resist any entreaties by politicians who are more concerned about their personal interests than the nation’s interests.
He assured Nigerians that NAF in conjunction with the Nigeria Police and other security agencies, would ensure the safety and security of all Nigerians before, during and after the elections.
“All eligible voters are therefore encouraged to come out in mass to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights to vote for the candidates of their choice on election days,” Daramola said.
In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged the electorate to troop to the polls on Saturday to vote for candidates of their choice.
The president, in a nationwide broadcast on Friday in Abuja, said eligible voters were duty bound to participate in electing a government ”that would lead Nigeria to its finest destiny”.
He said that the call had become imperative in view of the fact that “elections are the cornerstone of representative governance and voting constitutes the highest and best expression of the sovereign will of the people to choose the government that best represents them”.
According to the president, ”it is only upon the freely expressed will of the people that government truly dedicated to the welfare, rights and interests of the people can be founded”.
The president stressed that voting means the citizens believe in Nigeria and ”the excellent things the future holds for the nation and its people”.
He called on the electorate not to allow anyone to discourage them from exercising their rights as citizens and voters on Saturday.
Mr Buhari, who had been criticised for using a similar ‘last minute’ broadcast last Friday to campaign for votes measured his words carefully today. The first round of polls scheduled to take place last week was postponed by the electoral body, INEC at he last minute.
Mr Buhari on Friday urged prospective voters not to be afraid of rumours of violence and unrest, saying that the nation’s security agencies would ensure that adequate security measures were in place.
Part of his appeal in the broadcast is reproduced below:
“Tomorrow is an encounter with history in which you, the people, shall affirm your collective belief in our national greatness and in our future.
“I ask that you embrace and hold on to the importance of the moment soon to be upon us.
“As citizens there is no greater duty than this and no greater honour. Tomorrow, I know you will once again make Nigeria proud of its people.
“Do not allow anyone to discourage you from the exercise of your rights as citizens and voters tomorrow (Saturday).
“No matter our political leanings, we all believe in Nigeria, in the noble principles for which it stands and in the values we strive for our beloved nation to uphold.
“All who are able must vote so that we may better perfect this democracy and continue to build the greater nation we seek.’’
The president also said his administration had put in place adequate security measures that would enable the electorate to vote in an atmosphere of openness and peace, devoid of fear from threat or intimidation.
Mr Buhari reassured the International and domestic monitors as well as observers of their safety and freedom of movement while performing their important functions.
“As we thank domestic monitors and observers for their contributions to our democracy, we also thank the international groups for the friendship and concern they have demonstrated to our nation.
“We appreciate their efforts in encouraging us to further entrench and strengthen our democracy,’’ he maintained.
Additional report from Guardian NG