Democracy Day: Buhari Pledges Free Election, Tackling Insecurity

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Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has restated his commitment to tackling the menace of insecurity ravaging the country.

This he said is to ensure a smooth conduct of free and fair general election in 2023 and for the overall stability and development of the country.

Buhari made the pledge in a national broadcast on Sunday morning to mark this year’s Democracy Day in the country.

He vowed to ensure that the next president of the country emerges through a peaceful and transparent process, while assuring that the rights of voters will be protected.

The president also called on the citizens to work together in ensuring a smooth and peaceful transition in 2023.

“It is important for all of us to remember that June 12th, 2023 will be exactly 30 years from the 1993 presidential elections. In honour and memory of one of our national heroes for democracy, Chief M.K.O Abiola, GCFR, we must all work together to ensure this transition is done in a peaceful manner.

“I am hopeful that we can achieve this,” the president stated.

It would be recalled that the president had in 2018, made a declaration moving Nigeria’s Democracy Day from May 29 to June 12 as a way of honouring Moshood Abiola, the winner of the 1993 presidential election, presumed to be the most free and fair poll ever in the political history of the country which was annulled by the military government of Brigadier General Ibrahim Babangida.

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Reflecting on the day’s event, President Buhari said June 12 is to celebrate freedom and unity of the Nation.

He said the sacrifices of the heroes of Nigeria’s democracy during 1993 must never be forgotten, adding that their patriotism and peaceful struggle should guide actions of the citizens especially when it comes to electing political leaders and holding them accountable, now and in future.

The president noted that so far, there are positive signs of improvement in the electoral process in the country, observing that the recent primaries conducted by the registered political parties were peaceful and orderly, coupled with the political maturity displayed by most candidates who ran issue-based campaigns.

According to the president, there is also significant increase in women and youth participation across all party platforms. This he said, “augurs well for the future,” noting that the “trends clearly show the level of maturity our democracy has achieved in the last 23 years.”

“As we move into the general election campaign season, we must sustain this mature attitude to campaigning and ultimately, voting. We must never see it as a ‘do or die’ affair. We must all remember democracy is about the will of the majority. There must be winners and losers,” Buhari admonished.

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He urged all electoral candidates to continue running issue-based campaigns, display decorum in their conducts and treat opponents with dignity in the electioneering period, bearing in mind that the world is watching and other African nations are looking up to the country to provide an exemplary leadership.

He assured that all arms of government would remain committed to implementing various reforms on the electoral process in the 2023 general election.

Security and 2023 election

Speaking on security, Buhari said his administration is working hard to address the challenges and ensure a safe and secure election, and urged the citizens to cooperate with the government in that regard.

“we must all contribute. It is not the job of government alone. I ask all citizens to support and cooperate with our security agencies by reporting any suspicious characters and activities to law enforcement agencies. We can only have a safe country if we are able to prevent crime not after the crime has been committed.”

Dwelling further on security, the president disclosed that the security agencies are working on upgrading the cyber security and surveillance systems to be able to track criminal elements in different parts of the country.

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