Presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday vowed to “lead from the front” in the fight against Boko Haram if elected in the country’s forthcoming election. The former military ruler, who rejected descriptions of him as a “dictator”, also argued against further delays to the election and said a free, fair and peaceful vote would boost democracy in Africa.
The flag bearer of the opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) has been seen as neck-and-neck with President Goodluck Jonathan in the closely fought election campaign. Some have predicted that Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could lose power for the first time since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.
In a speech at the Chatham House international affairs institute in London, which was broadcast live online, Buhari asserted that Nigeria had been failed by a consistent lack of leadership from Jonathan in the insurgency. “Our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentive to tackle this problem. Let me assure you that if I’m elected president, I vow to change that,” he added.
“We will give them adequate modern arms and ammunition, we will improve intelligence gathering… we will be tough on terrorists and tough on its root causes… in the affected areas.” “No inch of Nigerian territory will ever be in the hands of the enemy,” Buhari pledged, promised to return Nigeria to its former role as a stabilising force in west Africa.