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W’Africa: Buhari pledges Nigeria’s support for free elections

President Buhari


The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday, pledged Nigeria’s commitment to stand by West African states who are determined to organise free and fair elections in 2023.

He said this while reaffirming his regime’s commitment to free, fair, and transparent elections and smooth transitions in Nigeria and across West Africa.

‘‘This is one legacy that I want my administration to bequeath, not only to Nigeria but to the region as a whole,’’ Buhari said at the opening session of the 2022 Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.

This was contained in a statement on Monday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

He reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to ECOWAS’ efforts, with the support of partners, to keep the region peaceful, secure and politically stable.

Buhari also pledged that Nigeria would continue to support the restoration of democratic rule in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso because ‘‘We are convinced that the sustenance of democracy and the rule of law should remain the norm in this promising region.”

Speaking of 2023, the President said, ‘‘There will be multiple political activities in some ECOWAS Member States, including Nigeria, where general elections are due to be held in February and March 2023.

‘‘Let me seize this opportunity to reiterate my commitment to free, fair and transparent elections and smooth transitions. This is one legacy that I want my administration to bequeath, not only to Nigeria but to the region as a whole.’’

Citing upcoming elections in Sierra Leone and Liberia, Buhari declared Nigeria’s readiness to stand by any country in the region that is committed to organising free and fair elections.

He reminded legislators of the ECOWAS parliament of the need to align their programmes to those of the founders of the sub-regional body.

According to him, “the vision of the founding fathers of ECOWAS was to have a West Africa that is integrated economically with harmonized policies, enjoying free movement of persons, goods and services, as well as seamless right to establishment.

‘‘We must continue to strive harder to attain those objectives. Let us take advantage of existing mechanisms and our enterprising population to turn our dreams into reality.

‘‘We have the capacity to do so. Let us collaborate more and remove our outdated physical and psychological boundaries and other colonially-inspired differences so our region can fully attain its full potential.”

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