The Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to express its confidence in securing a nonviolent election when Nigerians cast their votes come March 28 and April 11.
This was the assurance of President Goodluck Jonathan who recently in an interview with Thisday, revealed that he underestimated the Boko Haram Islamists group who have continued to terrorize the north-eastern part of the country.
Jonathan, facing a tight re-election bid against his rival, General Muhammadu Buhari, has faced criticism over the vote delay, which critics argue was designed to give him time to shore up his campaign.
It would be recalled that the military push for the six-week delay was eventually granted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow it to secure the country for the vote, though Boko Haram’s insurgency has raged for six years.
Speaking in an interview, President Goodluck Jonathan said:
“Probably at the beginning, we, and I mean myself and the team, we underrated the capacity of Boko Haram”.
He said that the military has recently acquired more arms and ammunition to do battle with the Islamists, vowing that their suppression and the capture of the group’s leader were near.
“God willing, we will catch (Abubakar) Shekau before the elections,” he said.
Asked why six more weeks would make a difference in the years-long conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people, Jonathan said the military could make reasonable progress in that time.
“We are not saying we must finish Boko Haram to conduct elections, but we should get to a point where they will not cause havoc if they make an attempt.
“My belief is that by 28th of next month, when the elections will be conducted, Boko Haram may not even be in a position to attack any town, God willing.”
Meanwhile, news reaching us indicates that Boko Haram have reportedly killed no fewer than 50 people in attacks carried out in some villages in Adamawa State.