The President Muhammadu Buhari is of the opinion that Nigeria’s democracy experienced great improvement under his watch, and is getting better even as he passes on the baton.
In his farewell speech to Nigerians on Sunday, the President Buhari also congratulated the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying he is the best candidate.
While saluting the doggedness and resilience of all the Presidential Candidates and their political parties for believing in the judicial system by taking their grievances with the last election results to court, the president noted however, that in Tinubu, Nigerians have chosen well.
“This year we witnessed the most keenly contested Presidential Elections since the first Republic and this demonstrates that our democracy is getting better and more entrenched with each election.
“Our democracy provides for, allows and encourages seeking redress for any perceived injustices, enabling some candidates and political parties that did not agree with the results to go to court.
“To my brother, friend and fellow worker in the political terrain for the past ten years – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu -, I congratulate you on the realisation of your dream, which was propelled by a burning passion to put Nigeria amongst the leading nations of the world.
“You have indeed worked for this day and God has crowned your efforts. I have no doubt that your passion for excellence, reliance on competence, fairness in relationships, commitment to equity, loyalty to the country and desire for Nigeria to be globally relevant would come through for you, under God’s guidance, as you lead our country to levels higher that I am leaving.
“You are the best candidate among all the contestants and Nigerians have chosen well,” Buhari said.
The president further asserted that Nigeria must improve and sustain the gains his government has made in the electoral process, on an incremental basis for the country to take its rightful place among the Community of Nations.
He admonished that irrespective of the outcome of the various cases in court, all the parties involved must accept the decision of the courts and join hands to build a better Nigeria.
“In the course of the campaigns, we had argued and disagreed on how to make Nigeria better but we never disagreed or had any doubts that Nigeria has to be better.
“As your President, I call on all of us to bring to bear the strength of our individualism, the power of our unity, the convictions of our beliefs to make Nigeria work better and together with one spirit and one purpose,” Buhari said.
He appreciated the leadership and members of the National Assembly for their patriotism which did not detract from their roles as a check to the executive arm, noting that the nation’s democracy is built on and continues to thrive on the principles of separation of powers.
In summing up, the president said he is confident that he is leaving office with Nigeria better in 2023 than in 2015.