President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his intention not to contest the 2023 presidential elections but determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
several ECOWAS members will be going to the polls in 2020.
President Buhari made his feelings known in a letter to Nigerians issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday to mark the commencement of 2020.
He said his decision to help strengthen the electoral process, particularly in Nigeria, was informed by the frustrations the nation’s electoral system had triggered.
“Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy.
“I salute the commitment of the millions who voted in peace last February and of those leaders who contested for office vigorously but fairly, submitting to the authority of the electorate, the Independent National Electoral Commission and judicial process.
“I understand very well the frustrations our system has in the past triggered. I will be standing down in 2023 and will not be available in any future elections.
“But I am determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the region, where several ECOWAS members go to the polls this year,’’ he said.
On security, the president said: “As Commander-in-Chief, my primary concern is the security of the nation and the safety of our citizens.
“When I assumed office in May 2015 my first task was to rally our neighbours so that we could confront Boko Haram on a coordinated regional basis. Chaos is not a neighbour any of us hope for.
“We have been fighting on several fronts: violent extremists, cultists and organised criminal networks. It has not been easy.
“But as we are winning the war, we also look to the challenge of winning the peace, the reconstruction of lives, communities and markets.’’
According to the president, the North East Development Commission will work with local and international stakeholders to help create a new beginning for the region.
He also expressed government’s readiness to continue to work with State Governors, neighbouring countries and the international partners to tackle the root causes of violent extremism and the networks that help finance and organise terror.
“Our security forces will receive the best training and modern weaponry, and in turn will be held to the highest standards of professionalism and respect for human rights.
“We will use all the human and emerging technological resources available to tackle kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery.