My Dear Compatriots,
I address you today on the rescheduled 2011 General Elections which are now to commence across Nigeria on Saturday April, 9, 2011.
2. By the schedule originally announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the elections into the Senate and House of Representatives ought to have taken place last week Saturday – April 2nd, 2011.
3. The Chairman of INEC has informed the nation that the non-delivery of critical election materials in large parts of the country, compelled the Commission to postpone the exercise.
4. The Commission, in consultation with all key political stakeholders, has now announced a revised timetable for all the elections, which will see the process commence on Saturday, 9th April 2011, with the National Assembly elections.
5. Dear compatriots, I deeply share with all Nigerians the understandable feeling of disappointment and frustration that was caused by the postponement. Across the country, there was clear evidence of an overwhelming spirit of patriotism that saw our countrymen and women troop out in large numbers to participate in the electoral process. Our people exhibited phenomenal fortitude and understanding, as many of you travelled long distances at great personal cost, and waited patiently to perform your civic responsibility.
6. This was a clear demonstration of your abiding faith in the electoral process.
7. Fellow Nigerians, my appeal to you this morning, is to sustain that patriotic zeal that you so visibly displayed last Saturday. I call on you all to come out again, en masse on Saturday and on all subsequent election days, to cast your vote.
8. The Chairman of INEC has again assured the nation that the Commission is fully ready to deliver credible polls to Nigerians.
9. Let me reiterate that the Federal Government is fully committed to the independence of INEC and to the conduct of free and fair elections in the country. Government will continue to support the Commission and provide all it requires to carry out its mandate.
10. The security agencies have been directed to provide optimal security for the entire process. They are to ensure the security of all voters, polling agents and INEC officials, and the maintenance of law and order. I therefore appeal to all Nigerians, to cooperate with the security agencies to achieve peaceful elections throughout the country.
11. I seize this opportunity, once more, to urge all political stakeholders to continue to be faithful to the tenets of fair play and healthy competition. At this critical stage in our national development, we cannot afford to engage in acts that can fan the embers of violence and discord. Let me assure you that Government remains committed to ensuring the safety of the lives and property of all Nigerians across the country.
12. Nigeria is bigger than anyone of us. No one’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.
13. Let me also take this opportunity to thank all our friends around the world for the continued show of support and goodwill.
14. Fellow Nigerians, the 2011 General Elections represent an important milestone in our nation’s march to greatness. Our collective posterity beckons on us all to stand up and be counted. Participating in the electoral process is your way of demonstrating your faith in the future of our country; a future founded on the promise of democracy, unity and progress.
15. I urge us all to continue to pray for the nation, and for peaceful and orderly elections. May God bless you all.