President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his intention not to contest the 2023 presidential elections but determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy.
“I salute the commitment of the millions who voted in peace last February and of those leaders who contested for office vigorously but fairly, submitting to the authority of the electorate, the Independent National Electoral Commission and judicial process.
“We have been fighting on several fronts: violent extremists, cultists and organised criminal networks. It has not been easy.
He also expressed government’s readiness to continue to work with State Governors, neighbouring countries and the international partners to tackle the root causes of violent extremism and the networks that help finance and organise terror.
“We will use all the human and emerging technological resources available to tackle kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery.
“We will work tirelessly at home and with our allies in support of our policies to protect the security of life and property,’’ he added.
Buhari maintained that his administration’s actions would be governed by the rule of law as well as engagement with well-meaning leaders and citizens to promote dialogue, partnership and understanding.
“Our policies are designed to promote genuine, balanced growth that delivers jobs and rewards industry.
“Our new Economic Advisory Council brings together respected and independent thinkers to advise me on a strategy that champions inclusive and balanced growth and above all fight poverty and safeguard national economic interests.
“As we have sat down to celebrate with friends and family over this holiday season, for the first time in a generation our food plates have not all been filled with imports of products we know can easily be produced here at home,’’ he said.
The president expressed the hope that the new agreements with Morocco, Russia and others would help access on attractive terms the inputs the country needed to accelerate the transformation in farming.
“A good example of commitment to this inclusive growth is the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the creation of the National Action Committee to oversee its implementation and ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to allow us to fully capitalise on regional and continental markets.
“As soon as we are satisfied that the safeguards are adequate, normal cross-border movements will be resumed,’’ he added. (NAN)