Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: We Must Have Free Elections at Any Cost - - - Buhari, Tinubu Declare

Kaduna — A high-powered delegation of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) led by its national leader Ahmed Bola Tinubu yesterday met with General Muhammadu Buhari, the national leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) at the Kaduna residence of the latter where they resolved to ensure free and fair elections in the country 'at any cost'.

Speaking to reporters at the end of a closed door meeting that lasted for about two hours, Tinubu said the ACN team was in Kaduna to discuss how to bring about 'positive change to the country in 2015', stressing that it was necessary to promote the cause of free and fair election as well as rule of law to ensure national development.

He said: "We must promote, at any cost, the course of free and fair election and rule of law because it is so critical to our national development and growth. This is the area that we can conquer poverty and fight so many things. It is not all about politics; it is all about progress and collaborative efforts that will result in free and fair election in this country.

"That change may be about us to form the government of our own. Every democrat must be able to work hard and sacrifice for a free and fair election. Any democrat must be able to accept and celebrate the result of a free and fair election in order to deserve the joy of victory. Every democrat must resist the abuse of power, manipulation and irregular victory in elections," the ACN leader stated.

Tinubu also said: "Politics is not a darkroom event; it is about openness, transparency and about how to work with one another to sell a common agenda. And that is the purpose that brought us here. We are still looking for how we can help our nation. Patriotism is defined by putting national interest above self interest.

"If we have security agencies that are charged with the protection of the sovereignty of the country at the expense of their own lives, then the leaders must be able to make sacrifice and must be flexible enough to help redirect the country. Not anybody can steer the ship of a nation but it takes exceptional leadership to chart the course to take the country to a proper destination."

When asked for his comment, Buhari only said; "I'm satisfied with what Senator Tinubu told you people, thank you."

Buhari, had sometime in May, paid a similar visit to the ACN leader at his Lagos residence where the two leaders were said to have laid the foundation for collaborative political effort ahead of the 2015 election. Sources in the ACN and the CPC said yesterday's visit was a reciprocal gesture by the ACN leaders, and that the meeting built on discussions earlier held in Lagos.

"The meeting built on the earlier discussions held in Lagos and other meetings in Abuja. It is about the planned alliance that would include other opposition parties too," a source said.

The ACN delegation comprising Bola Tinubu, Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Chief Audu Ogbe and Alhaji Lai Mohammed arrived at the Kaduna international Airport at about 5:40pm and drove straight to Buhari's residence along Sultan Road in Kaduna metropolis.

Immediately on arrival at Buhari's residence at about 6:44pm, the ACN team was received by Buhari himself in company of many CPC stalwarts including former FCT minister, Malam Nasir el-Rufa'i and Senator Abu Ibrahim from Katsina State, former minister of works, Alhaji Hassan Lawal and the party's gubernatorial candidate in Kaduna State, Haruna Sa'eed Kajuru.

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