The federal government has thrown its weight behind the United States’ intention to place visa ban on any Nigerian politician that may be found to be compromising the democratic process as Nigeria heads into general elections.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who gave government’s position on Monday, said that the government is comfortable with any action targeted at anyone undermining the nation’s democracy.
He was speaking in Abuja at the opening of the 20th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Scorecard media series featuring the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello.
The Information Minister insisted that the Buhari administration has demonstrated more fidelity to the democratic process than any other in the history of country, noting that the president is not bogged down by third term controversy as it was during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration.
The government spokesman said: “Today, on this 20th edition, it’s our great honour to host the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. I am sure we are all interested in hearing about the giant strides that have been made in this territory, where we all reside, since 2015.
“But before I invite our Special Guest to the podium, let me respond to the numerous
requests that we have received from the media on the decision by the United States of America to slam a visa ban on some Nigerians who are undermining democracy.
“Let me be clear: whatever action is taken against anyone who undermines this democracy that has been watered by the blood of many of our patriots is right and justified.
“For us as a government, we are proud to say that no administration since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999 has shown more fidelity to the democratic process than ours, and no President since 1999 has been as unambiguous as President Muhammadu Buhari, in word and in deed, with regards to leaving office after the constitutionally-stipulated two terms.
“President Buhari has left no one in doubt of his dogged determination to ensure free, fair and credible elections, handover to a successor elected by Nigerians and then return to Daura after the
May 29, 2023 handover date.
“As recently as this past Friday, when he visited the Emir of Daura, Mr. President still told the Emirate that he would return and settle down in Daura after handing over on May 29, 2023.
“The President has also given unprecedented support to INEC while also signing into law the Electoral Bill 2022 that Nigerians have hailed as a reason to have confidence in the electoral process.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, you must also not forget our firm response on this same podium on Jan. 10th 2023 to inquiries from the media over a widely-circulated report, credited to an INEC official, that the 2023 general elections face a serious threat of cancellation due to insecurity.
“We said and I quote, ”the position of the Federal Government remains that the 2023 elections will be held as planned. Nothing has happened to change that position.’
“Finally, what we are doing here with our Scorecard Series is another indication of our administration’s determination to leave office on May 29, 2023.
“With our Honourable Ministers telling Nigerians what we have done since assuming office in 2015, we are in essence presenting our handover notes to those who elected us as an administration as we prepare to leave in May.
“We are therefore proud that we have sent unambiguous signals to our people and indeed to the world that we will leave office come May 29, 2023. We have not been mired in any third term controversy like was witnessed under the PDP.
“In fact, we are creating the template on a smooth transition of power that will guide future administrations.
“Let those who undermine our democracy be sanctioned, and let them carry their own cross. As a government, we have no reason to worry because our hands are clean!”