Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, promised that he would leave a legacy of free-and-fair elections as his eight-year tenure comes to an end in May 2023.
The president made the commitment in his last address before world leaders at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the United States.
“We believe in the sanctity of constitutional term limits and we have steadfastly adhered to it in Nigeria. We have seen the corrosive impact on values when leaders elsewhere seek to change the rules to stay on in power,” he said.
“Indeed, we now are preparing for general elections in Nigeria next February. At the 78th UNGA, there will be a new face at this podium speaking for Nigeria.
“Ours is a vast country strengthened by its diversity and its common values of hard work, enduring faith and a sense of community. We have invested heavily to strengthen our framework for free and fair elections. I thank our partners for all the support that the have provided for our elections.
“As President, I have set the goal that one of the enduring legacies I will like to leave is to entrench a process of free, fair and transparent credible elections through which Nigerians elect their choice,” Buhari said.
The President, who reiterated his commitment to constitutional limit, said Nigeria has stood for democracy and the rule of law as a country and in the sub-region in countries such as The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and the Republic of Chad.
On climate change, the Nigerian leader demanded more action from advanced economies, noting that Africa and other developing countries contribute only small amount of greenhouse emissions, but are hardest hit by the effect of climate change.
“The measures we took at the national level also require climate justice. Africa and other developing nations produce only a small proportion of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to industrial economies,” he said.
“Yet, we are the hardest hit by the consequences of climate change as we see in the sustained droughts in Somalia and floods of unprecedented severity in Pakistan.
“These and other climate-related occurrences are now sadly becoming widely commonplace in the developing world. We are, in effect, literally paying the price for policies that others pursue. This needs to change.
“At the #COP26 in Glasgow last year, I did say that Nigeria was not asking for permission to make the same mistakes that others have made in creating the climate emergency.
“Fortunately, we now know what we can do to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis and the related energy challenge. As a first step, we must all commit to releasing the financing and the technology to create a stable and affordable framework for energy transition.
“Development Finance Institutions must prioritise de-risking energy projects to improve access of renewable projects to credit facilities. There should be no countries “left behind” in this equation.
“Rocketing energy costs worldwide are, in part, the product of conflict and supply disruptions to Europe and the Americas. Yet, we are all paying the price. It is, therefore, our expectation that this UNGA 77 & the upcoming COP 27 will help galvanise the political will required to drive action towards the fulfilment of the various existing climate change initiatives.