President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigeria will not fail the continent in the country’s forthcoming general elections, saying African political leaders must respect the right of citizens to make their choices in elections.
The president spoke at a bilateral meeting with Lazarus Chakwera, the president of Malawi on the sideline of the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on Friday.
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Buhari stressed that the right of citizens to vote and determine who leads them should not be treated lightly.
He said to strengthen the continent’s democratic fabric and ensure smooth conduct of elections, “We must convince the people that we respect them, and this is by allowing them to choose whoever they want.”
The president, who said the path to democracy in African countries had not been a smooth one, recounted that he had been to the Supreme Court three times before he eventually became president.
“I had to openly disabuse the minds of our colleagues. We are a developing country, so we should not be demoralised.
“We have to go through these processes. We must trust these institutions to do what is right. Present the evidence. Don’t give up. Keep on pushing,” he added.
Buhari, who explained that the merit of one’s case, not religion, or ethnicity or section would determine success in political endeavors, said his meritorious cases in court were thrown out by judges, who more or less shared the same sentimental backgrounds with him.
“So, I say go for merit. Don’t stand on ethnicity or such other divisive factors,” the president advised in a statement issued yesterday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.