Nigeria will continue to invest in the democratic stability of African nations, the country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari said as he quotes Mandela on Wednesday in Abuja at a formal celebration for the take-off of his second term.
President Buhari, in a speech at a packed national parade with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, and other heads of state from Liberia, Namibia, the Gambia in attendance; went down memory lane to remind Africans of Nigeria’s contributions to the independence and democratic stability of many countries. A feat that he said received commendation from the late South African President and African icon, Nelson Mandela.
“Without Nigerian influence and resources, the liberation of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and ultimately South Africa would have come at a greater cost. This fact had been attested by none other than the late Nelson Mandela himself,” Buhari said.
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“We Nigerians can be proud of our history since Independence in 1960. We have contributed to UN peace-keeping responsibilities all over the world; we have stabilized Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and two years ago we prevented the Gambia from degenerating into anarchy,” the Nigerian leader told dignitaries.
Despite internal challenges facing Nigeria especially insecurity in the northeast with neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger facing onslaught from Boko Haram terrorists, the country promised to continue its “Big Brother (support) to our neighbours” with focus on West Africa where economic instability continues due to falling commodity prices as a result of global financial challenges.
“We are the shock-absorber of the West African sub-region, the bulwark of ECOWAS and Lake Chad Basin Commission. We can, therefore, be proud to be Nigerians. We must continue to be good neighbours and good global citizens,” Buhari advised his fellow countrymen after quoting Nelson Mandela.
As Chairman of ECOWAS, President Buhari said he would soon be “hosting a regional security summit of heads of state in the Sahel to develop a Joint Strategy,” to tackle rising challenges facing the region. “ECOWAS and Sahel regions, starting from Chad all the way to Mali, are also experiencing adverse impacts of drought and desertification, which have triggered waves of human displacement; conflicts between farmers and herdsmen; terrorism; and a fundamental socio-economic change to our way of life.”
Buhari, who is the current African anti-corruption champion of the year, reminded African presidents at the celebration that without the fight against corruption, not much could be achieved in national stability and economic development.
“At the heart of inequality and insecurity, is pervasive corruption. When we took office we realised that if you fight corruption, corruption will fight back – and we have seen this at all levels.” The Nigerian leader said.
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The Nigerian president who was the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the country’s February presidential polls was re-elected with 56percent of votes after defeating Atiku Abubakar of the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who came second with 41percent of votes. The results are currently being challenged in court by Atiku and two other political parties.
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