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June 12: We Must Honour MKO Abiola With Peaceful Transition, Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to honour the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, by ensuring a peaceful transition towards the emergence of a new political dispensation in 2023.

In his broadcast to commemorate the 2022 June 12 Democracy Day today, he also restated his determination to ensure a transparent electoral process, through which a new president will emerge next year.

According to him, “It is important for all of us to remember that June 12th, 2023 will be exactly 30 years from the 1993 Presidential elections. In honour and memory of one of our national heroes for democracy, Chief M.K.O Abiola, GCFR, we must all work together to ensure this transition is done peacefully.”

Buhari noted that this is his last Democracy Day speech as president, and pointed out that “by June 12th, 2023, exactly one year from today, you will already have a new President.

I remain committed and determined to ensure that the new President is elected through a peaceful and transparent process,” he said.

Abiola

“I am hopeful that we can achieve this. The signs so far are positive. Recently, all registered political parties conducted primaries to select their candidates for the 2023 general elections.

“These primaries were peaceful and orderly. Those who won were magnanimous in their victories. Those who lost were gracious in defeat. And those aggrieved opted to seek judicial justice as opposed to jungle justice.

“I followed the party primaries closely from the state level to the Presidential level. I was very impressed to see across all the political parties that, most candidates ran issued based campaigns. The language and tone throughout were on the whole measured and controlled.

“Another positive that came from the 2022 party primaries was the significant increase in women and youth particularly across all parties. I was very pleased to see this development. This augurs well for the future. These trends clearly show the level of maturity our democracy has achieved in the last 23 years.

“As we move into the general election campaign season, we must sustain this mature attitude to campaigning and ultimately, voting. We must never see it as a “do or die” affair. We must all remember democracy is about the will of the majority. There must be winners and losers.

“I will therefore take this opportunity on this very special day to ask all candidates to continue running issue-focused campaigns and to treat opponents with dignity. As leaders, you must all showcase high character and never forget that the world is watching us and Africa looks up to Nigeria to provide example in governance. The tone you set at the top will surely be replicated in your followers.

“For the voters, I am pleased to inform you that in the last 7 years, our government across all tiers, has made significant investments to reform and enhance our electoral laws, systems, and processes to safeguard your votes.

“The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary were and still remain united and committed to ensure these reforms are fully implemented in the 2023 general elections. Fellow Nigerians, your right to choose your government will be preserved and protected, Buhari added.

Describing the June 12 Democracy Day as an occasion to celebrate the freedom and unity of our Nation, he said “we must never forget the sacrifices of the heroes of Nigeria’s democracy during 1993.

“Their patriotism and peaceful struggle should guide our actions especially when it comes to electing our leaders and holding them accountable, now and in future, the president said.

To ensure that the 2023 general elections are safe and secure for all Nigerians, Buhari assured that the unrelenting insecurity and terrorist activities in parts of the country would be contained by his government.

“I know many of us are concerned with the rise in insecurity due to terrorist activities in parts of the country. As a government, we are working hard to contain and address these challenges.

“To achieve this, however, we must all contribute. It is not the job of government alone. I ask all citizens to support and cooperate with our security agencies by reporting any suspicious characters and activities to law enforcement agencies.

“We can only have a safe country if we are able to prevent crime not after the crime has been committed, he stated.

Concluding his address by emphasising his promise to ensure a free, fair and transparent electoral process, Buhari pleaded with all citizens to come together and work with the government to build a peaceful and prosperous nation.

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