Recent elections proof of nation’s vibrancy, maturity – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari says with the conduct and non-interference in the Feb. 25 and March 18 general elections, Nigerians have proved to be capable of deciding who leads them without anyone telling them what to do.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman in a statement, said Buhari stated this while speaking at a farewell meeting with the outgoing United States Ambassador, Mary Beth Leonard at the State House in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The President said he was completely satisfied with Leonard’s role in the election process staying above it, without meddlesomeness or any form of interference.
The Nigerian leader also expressed satisfaction with remarkable passion toward democracy exhibited by Nigerians through the choices they made in the Presidential, National Assembly and the subsequent Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
According to him, Nigeria’s democracy has truly matured.
He said: “People are realising their power. Given the chance of a free and fair vote, nobody can tell them what to do. I am unhappy that some candidates lost in the election.
”But I am inspired by the fact that voters were able to make their own decision, to decide who won and who lost. With the currency change, there was no money to spread around but even then, I told voters to take the money and vote according to their consciences.”
The President commended the outgoing ambassador for the enormous achievements recorded in Nigeria-US relations in the three-and-half years she had been here.
He chronicled a number of challenges faced by Nigeria as the country strove to unite the diverse communities and achieve national development and expressed his appreciation of the way the United States was able to hold together as a nation.
He expressed the hope that Nigeria would continue to make progress in building a nation out of the country’s different and competitive communities.
He added that he enjoyed working with the ambassador and wished that she had more time to serve in Nigeria.
In an answer to a question posed by Leonard, Buhari said he planned to be a “big landlord” back at home, working his farms and tending his more than 300 animals.
“I am eager to go,” the President added.
In her remarks, the American ambassador said she was happy with the progress made in Nigeria-US relations in these three-and –half years.
She specifically cited the recent institution of a five-year visa regime between the two countries; active collaboration in security and the supply of military hardware including war planes and the soon-to-come fighter helicopters.
The ambassador also cited the cooperation in the health sector to fight HIV and COVID-19 response, giving assurances that US would continue to assist in the strengthening of Nigeria’s health sector.
Leonard expressed her gratitude and that of the U.S. government in the continuing role of the president in ensuring regional security and strengthening of democracy as a system of government.
She specifically cited Buhari’s strong response against the recent surge of coups-d’état in West Africa as worthy of commendation.
She expressed hope that even as he prepared to leave, there were still a few more things the President could do, among which she mentioned, the urgent need to remove fuel subsidy.
Source – NAN