President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his administration’s resolve to conduct free and credible elections in 2023.
He made the commitment on Wednesday during a meeting with representatives of Nigerians living in Portugal. Buhari added that his government will give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the free hand to conduct the exercise.
‘‘We also look forward to a smooth transition to the next government,” presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying at the meeting held in Lisbon.
“As I have said before, our Administration will not compromise on doing the right things and the welfare of Nigerians, home and abroad.’’
The President referenced the governorship elections in Anambra and Ekiti states as proof that his administration has zero tolerance for interference in elections, maintaining that Nigerians should be allowed to vote for people of their choice.
Garba’s statement also quoted his principal as calling on the Diaspora to promote Nigeria’s unity as he cautioned them against the use of social media to insult and incite others.
According to him, while social media platforms have made great impacts on several areas of life, they, however, have been used negatively.
‘‘Many countries, including our own, have had to take strong measures against some social media platforms to curb their excesses and prevent them from destabilizing our societies,” Buhari added.
‘‘I, therefore, call upon you to use social media responsibly. We all want the best for our country and people, so let us strive to build, unite and prosper our nation and people and not to insult and incite from a safe and anonymous distance.’’
Don’t Forget Home
The Nigerian leader expressed happiness in the success of Nigerians abroad in several fields, noting that the country, and many others, have shown that their diaspora can be a veritable engine for growth and development.
‘‘In every field of human endeavour, be it the creative industries, sports, health, academia, Nigerians in the diaspora have thrived and leveraged their skills to raise our country’s profile higher, economically, socially, technologically, and culturally,” he said.
‘‘It is for these reasons that this Government established the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) to facilitate and support your engagement with our country for a win-win outcome in our effort to keep Nigerians united at home and abroad.
‘‘You must continue to be our ambassadors-at-large in your comportment, actions, and character. You must excel and be the best in all your endeavours. While here, you must also not forget home as you are the example we want to project to the rest of the world.’’