Yakubu deplores foreign interference in internal elections

[FILE PHOTO] INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu

• Nigeria beyond vote-buying, democracy growing, says Buhari
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has decried foreign meddlesomeness in internal elections through malicious deployment of the Internet.

He noted that the menace was not only disturbing to developing nations like Nigeria but also to the developed ones, including the United States and western Europe.

Speaking yesterday at a workshop on Reporting of elections in the ECOWAS sub-region, organised by the bloc’s Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) in Abuja, Yakubu acknowledged the pivotal role of the media in free, fair and peaceful polls.

The fourth estate of the realm, he observed, remains the most reliable instrument through which participation and inclusivity are encouraged.

The workshop, which centred on capacity building, professionalism and elections management and ethical reporting, drew participants from across West Africa.

Represented by a National Commissioner in the commission, Mustapha Leke, the INEC boss said the training was apt in view of upcoming balloting in the sub-region.

In the same vein, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that Nigeria had left that era where democratic norms were brazenly subverted and votes awarded to favoured candidates.

He assured the visiting members of the Joint United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS Good Offices Mission on Elections that the 2019 polls would be free and fair.

President of ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, said the team was on homage as it did to Senegal, Mali, Gambia and others which recently held polls.

Besides, the president said the nation’s democracy was steadily improving with deeper understanding of cultures and tenets by the people as well as strengthening of those institutions that guarantee free and fair elections.
Receiving the Governor General of Canada, Julie Payette, at the Presidential Villa, the Nigerian leader said he saw the evolving strength of democracy by contesting elections three times before winning the fourth in 2015.

Buhari told the visitor that Nigeria had been understudying bigger and stronger democracies.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said bilateral relations between both nations will keep improving, especially economic ties and exchange programmes.

In her remarks, the Canadian leader appreciated the existing partnership that had translated into ease of migration, large trade relations and cultural exchanges.

The astronaut canvassed pooling of resources by nations of the world for exploration of space in providing solutions to some problems on earth.

Also yesterday, the president lamented the rot of infrastructure amid the ‘humongous resources’ at the disposal of the nation between 1999 and 2014.

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