From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed confidence that Nigeria’s political transition would produce a new generation of leaders after the 2023 general elections.
He also assured that his administration would promote free, fair elections for all contestants and sustain deep political discourse and freedom of speech.
He stated this, yesterday, while receiving Letters of Credence from ambassadors and High Commissioners from six countries in Abuja.
“I am highly optimistic that we will conduct a good transition process at the end of which a new set of political leaders will freely emerge. You are assuming your diplomatic responsibilities in Nigeria at a very interesting political period as Nigeria’s national elections are due in February 2023. I want to state again, as I did just a few days ago at the UN General Assembly, that we remain committed to free and fair elections.”
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as telling the envoys that citizens’ participation in democracy would continue to be encouraged through free speech and robust political discourse.
“As you settle down to your diplomatic responsibilities, you will realise how diverse Nigeria is. We are not only multi-ethnic and religious, but also multi-cultural. We enjoy unfettered freedom of speech and engage in robust political discourses. Sometimes, the nature of these discourses, tend to give the impression that we are constantly opposed to each other. The reality is that there is so much that bind us together than the few areas of our divergence. I have no doubts in my mind that you will soon appreciate our uniqueness and indeed resilience as a people, as well as our diversity which constitutes our strength,’’ he said.
The President urged the diplomats to build on the existing good relations that their predecessors had achieved by being more proactive in engagements.
President Buhari called for more collectiveness in tackling some of the challenges faced by nations, noting that the climatic, economic and security concerns could only be solved through shared vision, skills and efforts.
Responding on behalf of the diplomats, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Gangadharan Balasubramanian, assured President Buhari of the full support of their countries, especially as Nigeria counts down to the 2023 elections, adding that they would work with his government, and the leader that emerges after elections.
Other Ambassadors and High Commissioners who presented their Letters of Credence were from Germany, Mrs Annett Gunther; Sudan,Mr Mohamed Yousif Ibrahim Abdelmannan; Democratic Republic of Congo, Mrs Gerengbo Yakivu Pascaline; State of Palestine,Abdullah M.A. Abu Shawesh and The Kingdom of Netherlands, Mr Willem Wouter Plomp.