By ISMAILA CHAFE
Abuja- President Muhammadu Buhari in the course of this week advised those planning to rig the 2023 general elections to perish the thought or regret their decisions.
He vowed to use every legitimate means to protect the votes of Nigerians.
The president gave the advice at a dinner he had with members of the diplomatic corps in Nigeria to break Thursday’s Ramadan fast.
“Those planning to rig the 2023 elections should think twice because I intend to resolutely protect and defend the sacred will of the Nigerian people to be expressed through the ballot box,’’ he said.
He also cautioned against foreign interference in the elections.
The president had also hosted members of the business community and the leadership of political parties to the Iftar dinner on April 27.
At the event, Buhari urged political parties to keep elections and election-related differences aside and join the administration’s drive to defeat insecurity in the country.
The president said: ‘‘Without mass, popular support to our hard working Armed Forces, it will take us much longer to finish off the successful war we are waging against terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.”
President Buhari also received the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, on Tuesday at the State House, Abuja.
He lauded the AfDB for planning ahead of whatever negative consequences may come from the Russia-Ukraine war in terms of food security.
Adesina had briefed the president on steps being taken by the bank to avert food crisis in Africa, in the foreseeable future.
Also on Tuesday, President Buhari met behind closed-doors with Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The governor, when accosted by State House correspondents, declined comment on the outcome of his meeting with the president, saying his visit to the villa was private.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), however, reliably learnt that Tambuwal briefed President Buhari on socio-economic and security developments in his state.
NAN reports that the president also met behind closed door with Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State on the same day.
Bagudu, who is also the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, declined comment on the outcome of his meeting with the president.
The Nigerian leader had on Wednesday sworn-in four new Permanent Secretaries at the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja.
The president administered the oaths of office on the permanent secretaries shortly before the commencement of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The affected permanent secretaries are Mrs Beatrice Jiddy-Agba, Kachollom Daju, Malam Shehu Ibrahim and Mary Ogbe.
The FEC meeting approved $3.87million and additional N10.4billion for execution of contracts for the nation’s power sector to boost electricity supply across the country.
The approved power projects included the design, construction and installation of a 260 kilometre transmission line from Birnin-Kebbi, through Zuru, to Yauri in Kebbi State as well as procurement of two 60 MVA 132/33KV sets of Power Transformers.
NAN reports that N201.8million of the approved N10.4billion was meant for variation for the completion of Katampe to National Stadium 132 direct circuit line power project.
President Buhari on Thursday joined the Muslim faithful at the State House Mosque to witness the conclusion of Tafsir (Interpretation of the Qur’an) as Muslims around the world approached end of the Ramadan fast.
The President, who participated in the daily exercise throughout the one month period, had also used his evenings to host guests from cross sections of the country to Iftar (The breaking of fast).
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja, said the President used the occasions to practice the values projected by the Ramadan.
These, according to him, include the promotion of discipline and personal sacrifice, care and love for less fortunate, promotion of national unity and support for the Armed Forces as they fight to end terrorism and other crimes in the country.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, on April 29, presented Ekiti APC gubernatorial candidate, Abiodun Oyebanji to President Buhari.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed June 18, 2022 for the conduct of the Ekiti State gubernatorial election.
Receiving the candidate at the State House, Abuja, the president noted that he had served Ekiti State in many capacities including as Chief of Staff, Commissioner and Secretary to the State Government.
“Being Governor will just be continuity of service. I honestly wish you the best of luck.”
Adamu, who later spoke to State House correspondents, expressed hope that the APC would emerge victorious in the Ekiti governorship election.
On the forthcoming party primaries, Adamu gave the assurance that the exercise would be free and fair and would produce acceptable candidates.
Similarly, the Presidency, on Friday, announced the resumption of the traditional Sallah homage to the President by residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, two years after it was stopped following the lockdown to slow down the COVID-19 pandemic.
” President Muhammadu Buhari is set to receive the visitors, numbering about 100, at the New State House Banquet Hall at 3:00pm on Sallah Day (Sunday or Monday), itself to be determined by moon sighting to be announced by Islamic authorities in the country,” President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said in a statement.
According to the presidential aide, invited Guests for the event will be led by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammed Bello.
The President concluded the week with the hosting of Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, accompanied by members of the Royal Court of Benin and the Board of Trustees of the Benin Royal Museum at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
The traditional ruler thanked the president on the recent return of two important Benin Bronzes to its original place of abode by the University of Cambridge and the University of Aberdeen, both in the United Kingdom, after 125 years.
President Buhari, on his part, pledged that the Federal Government would continue to vigorously pursue the repatriation of looted Nigeria’s artefacts from abroad, including 1,130 Benin Bronzes in Germany’s public museums. (NAN)