Journalism of Courage

Only free, fair, credible polls can deepen Nigeria’s democracy, stave off coups in Africa, says Buhari

…restates commitment to transparent, free polls in 2023 as a good example for the rest of Africa

With military interventions in at least five African countries, Nigeria needs to send a strong message to the continent and the world that everything should be done to deepen democracy and reject unconstitutional change of government, President Muhammadu Buhari stated this on Monday.

One of the ways to deepen democracy is by ensuring a free, fair and credible elections with Nigeria showing the example in 2023, he said.

Persecondnews recalls that the military had intervened in democratic governance in Sudan, Chad, Mali, Guinea Bissa, and Burkina Faso in past few years.

Buhari has, therefore, restated his avowed commitment to a free, fair and credible polls in 2023 as a good example for the rest of Africa.

He spoke at the 16th Nigerian National Diaspora Day celebration and the 4th to be hosted by the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) which has its theme, “Diaspora Engagement in Global Challenging Times for National Development’’.

“I have repeatedly assured of my personal commitment, as well as that of my administration to ensuring that the processes continue to be transparent, to be credible, to be free and fair, leading to a smooth elections and transmission, transition to the next government.

“This is the only way we can deepen democracy in Nigeria, and set the right example for the rest of Africa and hopefully, stop the recourse to unconstitutional change in government in our sub region and other parts of the African continent.

“As you are all aware that the processes to our national elections in 2023 have continued to progress smoothly and consistent with the laws of our land and our Constitution,’’ Buhari, who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

On diaspora contributions to Nigeria’s economc fortunes, Buhari disclosed that direct remittances to the tune of $20 billion were made by over 17 million Nigerians in the diaspora in 2021.

He noted that the theme of this year’s celebration is apt considering experiences with COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war and the insecurity ravaging not only Nigeria, but across the globe.

“This is evident in the following: the passage of the Nigerians in diaspora commission establishment in 2017.

“The establishment and takeoff of the Nigerians in diaspora commission in 2019, the approval and adoption of the national diaspora policy in 2021, the presentation of the compendium of the ‘plus 600 diaspora icons at 60’ which remains a historic record of the work of our compatriots globally.

“The willingness of my administration to support NIDCOM in fulfilling its mandate, holistically through consideration for the establishment of the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust Fund as well as the intervention fund to support the activities of NiDCOM engagement with Nigerians in the diaspora,’’ Buhari also said.

Buhari said his constant engagements through the Presidential town hall meetings which are held with Nigerians in the diaspora during all his official trips outside Nigeria were in recognition of their important roles in national development.

“lt is gratifying to know that every July 25th we celebrate the achievement of these diasporans, many of who are the country’s goodwill ambassadors, contributing immensely and excelling globally, uplifting the image of Nigeria as well as continuing to develop Nigeria, through their resources, talents, skills, and global exposure.

“These are very well appreciated by my administration, and Nigeria as a whole, as you collectively contribute to make us proud at home.

“I understand in 2021, our diaspora home remittances through official channels stands at $20 billion, which is about four times over the value of our foreign direct investment.

“In addition, many of our Diaspora compatriots are actively investing in our healthcare, agriculture, education, information, communication technology ICT, housing and real estate, transportation, oil and gas, other services and so on.

Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman/CEO NiDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said Nigerians in the Diaspora should be celebrated for their achievements and for being good ambassadors of the country.

“The realization of these success stories of the Diaspora is adduced to the existing platform of NiDCOM which has led some African countries visit Nigeria to learn how to associate and manage their diaspora globally bearing in mind the huge potentials of the diaspora and the impact of their remittances to the economy of their country.”

Dabiri-Erewa said the State Diaspora Focal Point Officers (SDFPO) in the states had established the network and it is constantly liaising with NiDCOM through the yearly summit.

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