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Buhari gives farewell speech at 77th UNGA

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President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the United Nations of credible elections in 2023 as the country goes to polls to elect a new president as well as governors and lawmakers across the 36 states.

He stated this, in what appeared a farewell speech to the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as he told his audience that by same time next year, Nigeria would have a new president representing it at the event.

He, however, vowed to entrench a process of free, fair, transparent and credible elections through which Nigerians would elect leaders of their choices.

“We believe in the sanctity of constitutional term limits and we have steadfastly adhered to it in Nigeria. We have seen the corrosive impact on values when leaders elsewhere seek to change the rules to stay on in power. Indeed, we are now preparing for general elections in Nigeria next February. At the 78th UNGA, there will be a new face at this podium speaking for Nigeria.

“Ours is a vast country strengthened by its diversity and its common values of hard work, enduring faith and a sense of community. We have invested heavily to strengthen our framework for free and fair elections. I thank our partners for all the support that they have provided our election institutions. As President, I have set the goal that one of the enduring legacies I would like to leave is to entrench a process of free, fair and transparent and credible elections through which Nigerians elect leaders of their choice.”

He recalled that he would have first addressed the gathering as military Head of State in 1984, but that he had his first opportunity in 2015, when he became Nigeria’s democratically elected president.

Buhari thanked world leaders who have cooperated with Nigeria in efforts to tackle various challenges even as he highlighted the actions of the government in bringing peace and stability to the West African sub region.

He reaffirmed his commitment to constitutional term limits and Nigeria’s efforts to promote rule of law and democracy in West Africa, citing the country’s support for The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Chad during their political impasses.

He said in The Gambia Nigeria helped ensure the first democratic transition since independence and stood by the democratically elected government in Guinea-Bissau when it faced mutiny.

He added that following the tragic death of President Idris Deby Itno of Chad in the battlefield, Nigeria joined forces with its other neighbours and international partners to stabilise the country and encourage the peaceful transition to democracy, a process which is ongoing.

On the war in Ukraine, he warned that the danger of escalation further justifies Nigeria’s resolute calls for a nuclear-free world and a universal Arms Trade Treaty, which are necessary measures to prevent global human disasters.

He demanded that world leaders must find quick means to reach consensus on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty with related commitments by nuclear weapon states.

Buhari called attention to the use of social media to spread hate speech and divisive information, urging world leaders to come together to defend freedom of speech and uphold other values they cherish.