President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that Nigeria will not any presidential candidate or political party use money or thugs to intimidate voters in the 2023 elections.
Nigerians will head to the polls on Feb. 25 to select a successor to Buhari, who cannot run because the constitution does not permit him to serve more than two consecutive terms.
The three leading contenders are Bola Tinubu from Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress party, main opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi from the smaller Labour Party.
Past elections have been marred by deadly violence and intimidation, ballot snatching, vote buying and allegations of rigging, which have dented the credentials of a country that emerged from decades of military rule in 1999.
Buhari told a regional election monitoring mission that Nigerians should freely choose their next leader.
“We shall not allow anyone to use money and thugs to intimidate the people, he said, without saying how this would be stopped.
“Nigerians know better now, they are wiser, and know that it is better to dialogue than to carry weapons. Elections are even more difficult to rig now.”
Campaigning has so far been largely peaceful. Voters will use biometrics to cast their ballots and results will be transmitted in real time from polling stations, which the electoral commission hopes this will prevent rigging.