President Muhammadu Buhari says his efforts to uplift the quality of life of Nigerians will not be enough without a good governance system, anchored on electing credible leaders in free, fair, credible and transparent elections.
He said it is for this reason that he resolved to bequeath a sustainable democratic culture, which will remain lasting.
The President stated this while addressing the nation in a broadcast as part of activities to commemorate the 62nd Independence Anniversary of the country on Saturday in Abuja.
He cited the signing of the Electoral Act 2021 as amended with landmark provisions as a further assurance for a more transparent and inclusive electoral process in the country.
Buhari said: “Having witnessed at close quarters, the pains, anguish and disappointment of being a victim of an unfair electoral process, the pursuit of an electoral system and processes that guarantee election of leaders by citizens remains the guiding light as I prepare to wind down our administration.
“You would all agree that the recent elections in the past two years in some states (Anambra, Ekiti and Osun) and a few federal constituencies, have shown a high degree of credibility, transparency and freedom of choice with the people’s votes actually counting.
“This I promise would be improved upon as we move towards the 2023 General Elections.”
The President appealed that as the transition process to another democratically elected government commenced, all aspirants should conduct issues-based campaigns devoid of hate speeches, negative and divisive tendencies.
The Nigerian leader also affirmed that his administration’s focussed intervention on Nigerians through the National Social Investment Programme had since started yielding benefits.
He stated that his government had laid emphasis on infrastructure development with its attendant opportunities for job creation, employment generation and subsequent poverty reduction.
Buhari said: “There is hardly any ward, village or local government in Nigeria today that has not benefited from one of the following: N-Power, trader-moni, market moni, subsidised loans, business grants or Conditional Cash Transfers.
“All the aforementioned programmes along with various interventions by the National Social Investment Programme, direct support to victims of flooding and other forms of disasters, have provided succor to the affected Nigerians.”
Buhari also advocated for more female participation in the forthcoming general elections while calling on youths to desist from being used by selfish politicians to cause social unrest.
He said: “I also want to express my wish that we see more female and youth participation in the forthcoming electoral cycle.
“I am sure that our teeming and energetic youths now realise that violence generally mar elections, and so should desist from being used by politicians for this purpose.”
On reforms in the public sector, the President acknowledged that such reforms had already yielded results, especially in the delivery of services.
He, therefore, urged the general public to demand for citizen-centred services from the relevant authorities.
On the international front, Buhari said the country had continued to take advantage of its bilateral and multilateral platforms to explore cooperation with friendly countries and partners whenever the areas of cooperation were to the advantage of Nigeria.
He said: “Fellow Nigerians, in the past few years we have witnessed and overcome a good number of challenges that would ordinarily have destroyed our Nation.
“However, the indefatigable spirit of the Nigerian people has ensured that we overcome our challenges.
“It is in this spirit that I call on all of us to individually and collectively bring to the fore in dealing with all our development issues.
“I was called to serve, along with my team; I saw an opportunity to create a better Nigeria which we have done with the support of Nigerians.
“Almighty God and the good people of Nigeria supported us in laying a solid foundation for the Nigeria of our dreams.”