President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Abuja, promised to facilitate a “free, fair and transparent electoral process” in next year’s general elections.

This, he said, would be a way to honour the memory of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late MKO Abiola.Buhari made the pledge today in his 2022 Democracy Day speech.

The President called on political parties, candidates and the electorate not to regard the elections as a do-or-die affair, adding that democracy is about the will of the majority and therefore, “there must be winners and losers.”Speaking in a televised broadcast, Buhari expressed his satisfaction with the primary elections conducted across various political parties ahead of next year’s general elections, saying the primaries had set the tone for peaceful polls next year.

He said, “Fellow Nigerians, this is my last Democracy Day speech as your President. By June 12, 2023, exactly one year from today, you will already have a new President.”

“I remain committed and determined to ensure that the new President is elected through a peaceful and transparent process.“It is important for all of us to remember that June 12, 2023 will be exactly 30 years from the 1993 Presidential elections.”

” In honour and memory of one of our national heroes of democracy, Chief M.K.O Abiola, GCFR, we must all work together to ensure this transition is done in a peaceful manner. I am hopeful that we can achieve this.“

Recently, all registered political parties conducted primaries to select their candidates for the 2023 general elections.

“These primaries were peaceful and orderly. Those who won were magnanimous in their victories. Those who lost were gracious in defeat. And those aggrieved opted to seek judicial justice as opposed to jungle justice.”

“I followed the party primaries closely from the state level to the presidential level. I was very impressed to see across all the political parties that most candidates ran issue-based campaigns. The language and tone throughout were on the whole measured and controlled.“I am promising you a free, fair and transparent electoral process. And I am pleading with all citizens to come together and work with government to build a peaceful and prosperous nation.”

Buhari called on candidates in next year’s elections to imbibe issues-based approach and desist from character assassination as campaigns officially begin in September.

Credit: Punch.

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