General Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said last week's endorsement of President Jonathan's candidacy for 2015 election by South-South leaders does not mean anything because no region can elect a president alone.
"I don't take the decision of South-South seriously," the former head of state said in Kaduna when he received CPC's governorship candidate for Ondo State, Prince Soji Ehinlawo.
"South-South people said it is Jonathan or nothing. I know they are members of the PDP. Let them vote for him in free and fair elections; let us see if they can give him the ticket against other geo-political zones.
"Let them give him the primary ticket first, let them vote for him when 2015 comes and let us see if he would win," said Buhari, who is the national leader of the Congress for Progressive Change.
He said during the 2011 elections, there was "sophisticated rigging" in many places as it was not possible for a candidate to win 98 per cent of the vote in a multi-party election.
Buhari, who was CPC's presidential candidate in the 2011 election, also said it was ridiculous for anybody to have said he lost the election in the South West by the margin declared, arguing that lots of votes cast for him were not counted due to the connivance of INEC officials.
He urged the elite to shun apathy in the interest of sustaining and stabilising multi-party democracy.
"It is also up to the elites to participate and ensure that elections are free and fair. It is not necessary for them to be card carrying members of political parties. They know how to participate. They should not sit and look, they can go to their constituencies to identify and enlighten their people on the need to entrench free and fair election to stabilise the country," he said.
Buhari lamented what he called non-prosecution of those indicted in pension, subsidy and other frauds, saying only in Nigeria do people who retire die on queues while trying to collect their entitlements.
"Why are those officials not prosecuted to retrieve the stolen money? It is only in Nigeria that fraud of these magnitudes takes place and this incompetent government is doing nothing about it," he said.
Buhari also commended Ehinlanwo for leaving his job at the European Commission (EC) to run for Ondo governorship so as to contribute to the growth and stability of democracy.
Earlier, Ehinlanwo said, "I will take your golden messages home to the good people of Ondo State. We all know you and identify with what you represent. It is not only for the coming Ondo governorship election but also for the coming 2015 elections."
The Ondo State governorship election has been scheduled for October 20. Ehinlawo was accompanied on the visit to Buhari by CPC spokesman Rotimi Fashakin and other national officers.