By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged political party candidates to continue running issue-focused campaigns and to treat opponents with dignity, saying politics should never be seen as ”do-or-die” affair.
The president made the appeal in his 2022 Democracy Day broadcast to the nation on Sunday in Abuja.
The Nigerian leader commended the leaderships of the nation’s political parties for the smooth conduct of their parties’ primary elections.
”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,” he said.
The president particularly noted with delight the significant increase in women and youth participation in the primaries, saying this trend should be sustained and improved upon in forthcoming electoral exercises, inluding the 2023 general elections.
”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,” he maintained.
The Nigerian leader reassured voters that adequate measures had been put in place to safeguard their votes during the forthcoming elections in the country.
He said his administration had made significant investments to reform and enhance nation’s electoral laws, systems and processes to safeguard their votes.
The president, therefore, expressed the commitment of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary to ensure the successful implementation of the ongoing reforms of the electoral laws.
”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.” (NAN)