ABUJA – President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the “orgy of violence” that trailed the 2011 general elections would not be allowed to repeat itself in the 2015 polls.
In a nationwide New Year broadcast, Jonathan vowed decisive action against “anyone who disrupts the public peace, before, during or after the 2015 general elections”.
He said: “After the 2011 general elections, some unpatriotic elements embarked on an orgy of violence, resulting in the destruction of lives and property.
“That will not be allowed to happen this time around.
“This government will act decisively against anyone who disrupts the public peace, before, during or after the 2015 general elections.
“All Nigerians of voting age are free to vote based on their convictions. It is our duty to defend and protect that basic right, and let no one be in doubt, we will.”
The president also advised politicians to put the nation’s interest above self, noting that their ambitions were not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
According to him, improvement of the lives and living conditions of the people should be the driver of any quest for political power and leadership positions.
“Let us not promote sectionalism, disunity, intolerance, hate, falsehood or the malicious abuse of political opponents.
“Whatever we feel or seek, we must have a nation and a people before we can dream of political ambitions. Let us put the nation and the people first.
“Let us all conduct our electoral campaigns with the highest possible decorum and civility toward political opponents.
“Let us give the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) the fullest possible support and cooperation it requires to conduct credible and violence-free elections in 2015,” Jonathan said.
The president said his administration would continue to empower all key stakeholders including INEC, security agencies and the electorate to improve on the electoral process.
“We will continue to provide adequate funding to INEC and maintain the commission’s independence and isolate it from any form of interference or meddling in its day-to-day affairs.
“This shall continue to guarantee its impartiality and ability to conduct more credible and acceptable elections.
“National security agencies will also be given all necessary support to enhance their ability to ensure that the elections are peaceful and violence-free.
“The Nigeria Police has already established an Elections Security Planning and Monitoring Unit.
“I am optimistic that with the cooperation of all law-abiding citizens of the country, our commitment to have a peaceful and violence-free election will be actualised,” he said.
The president assured the nation that his administration would remain fully focused on the provision of good governance and better public services.
He said the impending campaigns and elections would not distract the federal government, and urged all tiers of government not to be distracted as well.
“The elections are very important for us as a country.
“Their successful conclusion will further strengthen our democratic institutions and place our beloved country even more firmly in the comity of truly democratic nations.
‘Given the challenges that have characterised some previous electoral contests in our country, the eyes of the world will certainly be on the conduct and outcome of our fifth post-military- rule general elections.
“I reassure all Nigerians and the international community of our firm commitment to free, fair and credible elections. My commitment to free elections and one man, one vote remains unwavering,” the president added.