President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday reassured Nigerians and the international community of his administration’s commitment to free, fair and credible elections this year.
He equally noted that his commitment to free elections, as well as one man, one vote remains unwavering.
The president told Nigerians that the 2015 budget was targeted at making the nation a non-oil economy.
According to him, in 2015, his administration will continue to lay the foundation for a vibrant economy that attracts significant Foreign Direct Investment and promotes policies that ensure economic stability.
Jonathan spoke in his new year nationwide broadcast.
He added that his administration had worked hard in previous elections to prepare all key stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and the electorate optimally, to ensure a progressively improved electoral process in the country, and as such this year’s elections will not be an exception.
“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 actualized.
“I will like to say this, once again, to my fellow politicians and political leaders. None of our political ambitions is worth the blood of any of our countrymen, women and children.
“The improvement of their lives and living conditions ought to be our primary motive and the driving force of our 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 towards political opponents. Let us give INEC the fullest possible support and cooperation it requires to conduct credible and violence-free elections in 2015.
“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.
“Fellow Nigerians, I urge all of you to enter the New Year with renewed zeal and patriotism, to serve our fatherland with love, honesty, faithfulness and hope for a greater tomorrow.
“As I have always maintained, none of the challenges before us is insurmountable. We must come together as a people and work with single-minded unity of purpose to overcome them.
“Nigeria is a key country in Africa. We must work together to maintain our strategic position and collaborate with others to move the continent forward. I call for peace in Africa and an end to all conflicts in our continent. I urge all Africans to promote democracy in their respective countries to ensure faster development of the continent and faster economic and political integration” Jonathan said.
The president paid special tributes to the nation’s armed forces and other security agencies who had been in the vanguard of the war against terrorism and violent extremism in our country and sub-region.
He equally commended all Nigerians who had remained vigilant and cooperative with security agencies in the fight against “the common enemy.”
The president added that “we are re-equipping and re-positioning our armed forces to enhance their capacity to win the ongoing war against terror and insurgency.
“Regrettably, terrorists have unleashed much pain and agony on our land. They have made widows of our mothers and sisters and orphans of our children. They have shut down businesses, desecrated places of worship and brought untold hardship to both men and women.
“They have violated the culture and peaceful way of life in our country, which took generations to build.
“They have destroyed countless schools and displaced people from their communities, driving them into exile.
“I want to assure you that the terrorists will not get away with their atrocities: they will not win; they will be routed. As President, I feel the pain of all affected communities and families. I hear their cries and share their sorrow and pain.
“We will not forget; we will not look the other way. We have done a lot of painstaking planning and work to resolve the current security challenge. We will bring justice to the savage terrorists known as Boko Haram. They will be defeated.