• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Elections: Don’t meddle in Nigeria’s politics, Buhari tells diplomats

Make our load lighter, Nigerians urge Tinubu

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday reiterated his call on members of the diplomatic community not to meddle in Nigeria’s internal politics.

The president’s call comes as Nigeria prepares for a general election in February and March, this year, that will produce the next president and other political leaders in the country.

Buhari, while speaking on insecurity in West Africa, said Nigeria was working closely with members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to deal with insecurity in the region, as well as implementing strategies to contain the spate of unconstitutional change of governments.

Between May 2015 and date, no fewer than 34 coups had taken place in the West African sub-region, with 14 attempts and nine successful coup plots, that led to unconstitutional changes in those countries.

The president, while receiving Letters of Credence from the ambassadors of Switzerland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of South Sudan, at the State House, on Thursday, described the situation as unacceptable.

The president, therefore, called for cooperation and collaboration from the countries to overcome the challenges in West Africa.

Buhari used the opportunity to invite friendly countries to ‘‘support efforts to address the problem of insecurity, fight against corruption, diversification of the economy, and our efforts in promoting good governance.’’

The president renewed his call to foreign government representatives not to meddle in Nigeria’s internal affairs, as Nigerians prepare to elect another government at the general elections on February 25, 2023.

‘‘I urge you to be guided by diplomatic practice to ensure that your activities remain within the limits of your profession as you monitor the build-up to the elections and the conduct of the general elections itself.

‘‘I wish you all success in your respective tours of duty and at the same time encourage you to take time to enjoy the unique nature and culture at your disposal as you travel across our country,’’ he said.

The president told the ambassadors that Nigeria was pleased with the cordial bilateral relations it has with their respective countries, and commended the roles of their predecessors who demonstrated diligence and commitment to advance these causes.

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‘‘I am confident that your appointments are deliberate to build on the successes of your immediate predecessors in order to advance our relations to significant and enviable heights.

“As you settle down to your diplomatic responsibilities, I am hopeful that you will appreciate the political, socio-economic and cultural diversities which are the hallmarks of the Nigerian nation.

“I encourage you to build friendships and take time to fraternise across the length and breadth of the country including interfacing with both the public and private sectors in bid to explore areas of mutual benefit to your respective countries and Nigeria.

‘‘Sectors such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, local manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, transportation, solid minerals are areas of particular interest to us and foreign investors alike.

‘‘This will enable us to collectively strive to resuscitate all our countries’ economies in the post-pandemic global recovery processes.’’

President Buhari also acknowledged the support of the respective countries in his administration’s campaign to deal with the challenges of insecurity such as kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, drugs and human trafficking, as well as the threats posed by environmental challenges resulting from climate change in the Lake Chad Region.

He reiterated that different factors that accounted for these challenges go beyond the abilities of any single country to effectively contain. He emphasised that matters of security have become the business of all nations of the world to work together at both bilateral and multilateral platforms and build consensus in order to overcome these challenges.

The ambassadors who presented their Letters of Credence are: Nicolas Lang, Switzerland; Annika Englund, Sweden; Peter Ryan, Ireland; Kitiisak Klomchit, Thailand, Nicolas Nyouky, Senegal and David Chaot of South Sudan.

Responding on behalf of his colleagues, the ambassador of Switzerland assured the Nigerian leader that they will exercise ‘‘their functions as ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary with dedication, to the best of their knowledge and belief, and for the mutual benefit of our countries.’’

‘‘We are aware of the importance of Nigeria to the wellbeing of the entire African continent, its role in international politics and its weight in the world economy.

“Each and every one of us is proud to represent his or her country and its interests in this great Federal Republic of Nigeria,’’ Ambassador Lang said.