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2023: We’re Looking Forward To Peaceful Transition, Says Buhari

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has said with the conclusion of the primary elections of all political parties in the country, his regime looks forwards to a smooth transition next year.

This was as he pledged to give a “free hand” to the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that it delivers peaceful, transparent, free, fair and credible elections.

According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari spoke on Wednesday night at a meeting with representatives of Nigerians living in Portugal.

The statement is titled ‘In Portugal, President Buhari reiterates commitment to peaceful, credible elections in 2023.’

‘‘We also look forward to a smooth transition to the next government. 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 said.

Citing the last governorship elections in Anambra and Ekiti State, Buhari noted that his regime has consistently proven its zero tolerance for interference in elections and insistence that Nigerians should be allowed to vote for the party and candidate of their choice.

He also cautioned the diasporans against the use of social media to insult and incite from a safe and anonymous distance, urging them to always promote Nigeria’s unity.

‘‘The world is a global village and technology has shrunk the world even more. Although you reside beyond Nigeria’s boundaries you can engage easily with the country. In fact, we see the impact of that engagement clearly on social media.

‘‘This platform has empowered Nigerians in the diaspora and given you great influence. As we have seen, however, social media can be a force for good as well as a force for evil.

‘‘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,” President Buhari said.

The President also expressed delight in the successful involvement of Diaspora in various fields such as agriculture, health care, education, ICT, and the food industry in Nigeria.

He noted that many countries, including Nigeria, have shown that their diaspora can be a veritable engine for growth and development.

Acknowledging the contributions of the Diaspora to Nigeria’s economy, the President said:

‘‘In every field of human endeavour, be it the creative industries, sports, health, academia, Nigerians in the diaspora have thrived and leveraged on their skills to raise our country’s profile higher, economically, socially, technologically and culturally.

‘‘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.’’

Nigerian Ambassador to Portugal, Alex Kefas, told the President that records indicate that there are some 3,000 Nigerians living in the country, who are generally well behaved and living peacefully among themselves and the host authorities.

The Ambassador informed the President of the recent arrest and detention of about thirteen Nigerians for alleged offences of money laundering and cybercrime.

He explained that the Embassy conducted a consular visit to the prison which revealed that the arrests were ‘‘disproportionate and unjust’’ as many of them were innocent of the allegations.

He said the Mission is trying its best to ensure the release of the innocent to enable them to reunite with their families.

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