President Muhammadu Buhari has admitted that Nigeria’s elections are always rowdy and the 2023 general election will not be an exemption, urging envoys to stay away from them.
The president spoke while receiving letters of credence from ambassadors of Finland, Burundi, Denmark, France, the European Union, Ireland, Cape Verde, France, Qatar, and high commissioners of Sierra Leone and Ghana at the Presidential Villa on Monday in Abuja.
According to him, in the build-up to the 2023 elections, Nigeria’s politics would be ‘necessarily rowdy.’
“The nature of our politicking often gives the impression of very rancorous engagements. It is the nature of politics here. Besides, democracy and related democratic activities in the build-up to elections are necessarily rowdy and very argumentative, but very much within the limits of freedom of action that the art of democracy permits,” he said.
He, however, advised the diplomats to steer clear of ‘our politics’ and adhere strictly to diplomatic standards and focus on their profession.
“Nigeria’s national elections are due in early 2023. The momentum for enhanced political activities is therefore expected to commence soon,” Buhari further said.
“As you settle down in the face of these developments, it is my hope that you will also be guided by diplomatic practices, to ensure that your activities remain within the limits of your profession.”
The president said he hoped the new envoys would bring positive results and improve the relationship with their home countries.
“It is my hope that, as you settle down to your responsibilities of promoting unity, amity, enhanced understanding, better economic opportunities and the pursuit of peace between your respective countries and the Federal Government of Nigeria, you will make it a point of duty to appreciate our country’s diversity as a source of not only pride but advantage as we are definitely stronger together.
” Excellencies, the world will definitely be a better place and much easier place to live in if all cultivate the culture of patience and tolerance in order to appreciate the values of each of us and the contributions that we all can make, for sustainable peace and development, globally.”
Concerning security, Buhari said, “As a government and as a nation, we continue to make steady progress, despite daunting challenges, notably in the area of security. Different factors accounted for this, amongst which are, the first is that insecurity linked to terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, cybercrimes, and maritime issues, are trans-border acts that go beyond the abilities of any single country to effectively contain it.”
Japanese Ambassador Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, who spoke on behalf of the envoys, gave assurance of their readiness to improve existing bilateral relations with Nigeria, assuring that they would cooperate with the country and look for ways to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.