By Vicky Orjime (ABUJA)
Head of the African Union (AU) Observation Mission and former President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has urged Nigerians to remain faithful to democracy by ensuring the conducts of the general elections are free fair and credible.
Kenyatta made this during his visit Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja on Tuesday.
He noted Africa and indeed the world were watching and hoping that the outcome of the forthcoming elections would bring all parties together to build a better Nigeria.
“He said, “We are here as you have correctly stated, to work together with you, we are here as members of the African Union observer team for the upcoming presidential and Senate as well as National Assembly elections. We are here as members and brothers and sisters.
“From the African continent to affirm Nigeria, Nigeria’s commitment as the largest democracy on the African continent and your commitment to democracy to the rule of law and to active democratic practices that allow the people at intervening periods to be able to elect for themselves The leaders of their choice. I wonder the very onset.
“Just to say one thing which I have noted, in particular, and that is president buhari is personal commitment towards in. During a free, fair and transparent election, this is something he has been talking about at various intervals, many not actually thinking he would actually see it through. But we are here today and seeing that he has lived true to his word.
“We are here to see that those words turn into reality in the next few days. We are here to work together with our brothers and sisters of Nigeria, as they exercise that fundamental right, which is the democratic right to choose freely, the leaders without hindrance, and without in conferences. There are many challenges and we all know that.
“And those challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria. There are challenges that for one reason or another affect various parts of the world and not just Africa you’ve seen similar challenges in the UK The size of people’s democratic rights be experienced even in established democracies like The United States. So we must recognize that there will be challenges.
“But at the end of the day, what we want is that the eventual outcome of these elections reflects the will, of the people of this great country of Nigeria. We are here to work together with the Independent Electoral Commission.
“We are here to see how we can be of assistance. We are here. To ensure that the processes are clear and aboveboard. We are here to encourage our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, to remember that elections are just part of a process. Because democracy is built over years, you will have an election now you will have another one.
“Elections are not the beginning and the end. We are here to encourage that people accept results and are able to move on and build a greater and better, Nigeria together, that people are able to come together after the election, and continue working for the betterment of the people of this country, and for the greatness of this nation, and for the greatness of our African continent.
“We are looking forward to working with all candidates. We are looking forward to working with the Electoral Commission. We are looking forward to working with Nigerians to ensure that there will remain supreme and to ensure that the voice of Nigeria and I repeat again, the largest democracy on the African continent will send a signal to the rest of the continent and the world of Africa’s commitment to democracy and Africa’s commitment to respecting the free will of people to elect leaders of their choice.
“So as is to wish that we are able to continue this process work together to really appeal to every single citizen that let this be a piece thought process and for people to understand that there is life after an election Should I stand before you as a two term press Didn’t Who is very happy in his retirement and who looks forward to working with a man I consider not my elder brother, but my father once his term comes to an end, as we continue to work together.”
In his opening remarks, Onyeama thanked the former Kenyan Presisent his fatherly support, saying, “I wish at the very outset on behalf of the President and the people of Nigeria, and I would indeed say, the people of Africa to extend our deepest appreciation, and congratulations to you on the phenomenal role you play as president of Kenya, not just for your achievements in Kenya, taking the country from a very precarious position.
“To truly a thriving economy and I’m sure the people of Kenya cannot find you and my father, but also as a fellow African country. We also wish to thank you enormously for that and also for your role as a as an African leader, and what you did during your mandate for for Africa. So, Mr. President, really, thank you very, very much indeed. And Africa owes you and I think Kenya owes you a big debt of gratitude.
“For for for truly what you have, what you’ve done, and we’re extremely proud of you and and also the way you have really respected the principles of democracy and practiced it. So thank you very much a great model for Africa, and for our people.
“And thank you very much indeed again on behalf of Nigeria for agreeing to come to Nigeria to help us also to strengthen democracy. In this country. I also want to say same plane with you from Addis. And you arrived just 32 Three hours ago, and here you are with us. I mean, I just shows your personal commitment, the sacrifice, you’re ready to make for Nigeria so we really cannot thank you enough.”