President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed the wish for the 2023 presidential election to be conducted without hitches so he can hand over peacefully to whoever succeeds him.
Buhari spoke at a dinner with members of the legal team for the 2019 presidential election petition on Thursday in Abuja.
Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, quoted Buhari as saying as a beneficiary of a free and fair election, he would bequeath same to his successor and the nation in 2023.
Recounting the turnout of Nigerians during his campaign across the 36 states of the federation in the buildup to the 2019 elections, the president said he is convinced “his re-election was not a fluke”.
‘‘The number of people that turned out in every state across the country was more than anybody can buy or force,” Buhari said.
‘‘This gave me so much confidence and the election proved that with the votes I got. ‘That is why I insist that elections must be free and fair because I am a clear successor to a free and fair election.
‘‘Morally I want to have a clear conscience. I swore by the Holy Book that I will abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
‘‘I will continue to do my best and I hope that by 2023, I can handover quietly to whoever succeeds me and I wish him the best of luck.”
The president commended the legal team led by Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), for the legal successes recorded in the presidential election petition.
‘‘You creditably demonstrated a deep understanding of the law and its practices and I am indeed proud of you all,” he said.
‘‘I am confident that by securing a convincing and unanimous legal victory at the Supreme Court you have by so doing ensured that the political mandate of the Nigerian electorate is now firmly secured.”
There have been reports of the president seeking to extend his tenure beyond 2023 but the president has vowed to step down at the end of his second term.