President Muhammadu Buhari warned yesterday that his government won’t condone any action that will undermine the smooth conduct of the 2019 general elections.

He urged political parties to pledge their commitment to the democratic process.

The President who spoke through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha at the 15th Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja said politicians and political parties should ask their supporters to respect the electoral process and refrain from violence. He advised that aggrieved parties should learn to seek redress through constitutional means and respect the rule of law.

President Buhari appealed to Nigerians to have confidence in the ability of the country’s political institutions to conduct peaceful and successful elections.

He said the election that ushered in his government t in 2015 reflected the will of Nigerians and was widely acclaimed as transparent and peaceful.

“We confounded the naysayers and the outside world. Nigerians showed resilience, patience when the biometric card reader system for verifying voters threw up some technical challenges. The security challenges in the north east did not deter out people from exercising their fundamental political and civic rights.

“From Umuahia to Damaturu, Jalingo to Osogbo, our people queued for long hours at their polling units and kept vigil as election officials tabulated their votes. And then the big one, the (then) outgoing President Dr, Goodluck Jonathan historically set the tone for future political conduct t in the country by graciously accepting defeat in a keenly contested race.

“As we look towards 2019 and completing another round of the electoral cycle, there is the need for all of us to sustain efforts at building confidence in the country’s democratic institutions, notably the judiciary and INEC.”

National Commissioner of INEC in charge of Voter Education and Information, Prince Solomon Soyebi, said the the commission had so far registered about 74 million voters. He said the commission expected the figure to rise to about 85 million before the election.

He said the commission had not given the notice for the 2019 general elections, saying “what we have given is an alert”.

He said: “The electoral space has shifted from where Jega left it and right now, we have abut 68 political parties on board. The prospect of having over 80 is there because we have about 90 different associations in various degrees of qualifications and registration.

“Again, the voter registration space has increased. As of last week, we have about 74 million registered voters and with our projections, we anticipate that we may have between 80 and 85 million voters come 2019. That is why we gave the timetable ahead of time so that we can prepare on time. Outside the United States, Nigeria practice the largest Presidential system of election”

The Nation