President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday directed security agencies to ensure violence-free elections in Ondo and Rivers states.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement said that Buhari gave the directive at a state dinner in Benin.

he statement quoted the President as saying that the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ondo and National and State Assembly re-run elections in Rivers would serve as litmus test for the 2019 general elections.

He said, “What happened in (the last elections) Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers State disturbs me a lot.

“I think we should go beyond these actions. Why do we kill each other? Putting tyres on people and setting them ablaze.

“I have told the law enforcement agencies, if we can’t conduct election in one state then we should forget about 2019.”

Buhari acknowledged the role played by outgoing Governor Adams Oshiomhole in ensuring the success of the APC in the last gubernatorial elections in the state.

He challenged the governor-elect, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to continue in Oshiomhole’s footsteps of providing purposeful leadership in terms of quality infrastructure, education and social services.

He said, “The publicity your predecessor has given his performance is going to stretch you to the limit.

“Considering what he has done, you have to continue in his footsteps. We wish you the best of luck and will do our best to support you.”

On the current economic challenges in the country, the President assured Nigerians that his administration was working hard on diversification of the economy to limit the country’s over-dependence on oil over the years.

He said, “This country has incredible mineral resources. All we need is to believe in ourselves so that we can have and leave a better Nigeria for our children and grandchildren.”