“We are currently at the threshold of another general election and, after five general elections in the country since 1999, we expect that the 2019 elections will be free and fair.”
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday assured Nigerians and the international community that the forthcoming general elections in 2019 will be free and fair, saying it will usher the country into an era of maturity, peace and unity.
Mr Buhari says that the increase in the number of political parties fielding candidates for next year’s elections indicates a greater democratic consciousness among Nigerians and a willingness to serve the country.
The President gave the assurance when he received Letters of Credence from four ambassadors at State House, Abuja, including from the Ambassador of Japan, Mr Yutaka Kikuta, according to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina.
Mr Buhari said the country’s political and electoral institutions have continued to evolve in strength, skill and experience after each election.
“We are currently at the threshold of another general election and, after five general elections in the country since 1999, we expect that the 2019 elections will be free and fair.
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“The political system is good and if people work hard they will succeed,” the President said.
Receiving Letter of Credence from the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Alexey Shebarshin, Mr Buhari noted that discussions on reviving the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, partnerships in agriculture and other bilateral interests in trade and economic development will be sustained, whilst commending the Russian Federation for standing with Nigeria.
“We have opened discussions on the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, and we will continue,” President Buhari added.
In his address to the Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Richardo Guerra De Araujo, Mr Buhari said that the historical ties between both countries and the shared potentials for growth will be further explored, with strong emphasis on economic and social development.
He pointed to the number of Nigerians living in Brazil as providing a strong argument for deeper and richer discussions with both countries.
Receiving a Letter of Credence from the Ambassador of United Arab Emirates, Fahad Al Taffaq, President Buhari assured him that Nigeria remained committed to strengthening the bilateral ties that have been established between both countries for many years.
Mr Buhari said the courtesies extended to Nigerians living in the United Arab Emirates was commendable, assuring the envoy that his administration will continue to strengthen business and trade relations between both countries.
In his remarks, the Ambassador of Japan said his country remained grateful for Nigeria’s concern and support during the flooding that devastated the country, promising to work hard to further enhance relations in the areas of technology, agriculture and trade.
The Ambassadors of Russia, Brazil and United Arab Emirates assured the President that they will work hard to ensure improved relations in key sectors of the economy, as they wished Nigeria the best in the forthcoming elections.