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Patricia Scotland: Commonwealth wants to see peaceful transition of power in Nigeria

Patricia Scotland: Commonwealth wants to see peaceful transition of power in Nigeria
February 23
11:14 2023

Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, says the member countries want to see free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria. 

Scotland spoke on Wednesday when she led a delegation to visit Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, in his office in Abuja.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal countries including Nigeria.

She said being the most populous country in Africa, the continent is looking up to Nigeria.

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Scotland said there are those who are making “conscious” efforts to create violence during the elections, urging citizens to resist such attempts.

“Today, we come to take part in the celebration of what Nigeria has achieved through the Peace Committee led by former President Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar,” she said.

“I applaud everything that President Buhari has tried to do to make sure the people of Nigeria vote and have the benefit of fair, free, and transparent elections. I have watched what has been done by the Independent National Electoral Commission which has worked hard to make sure that the independence of the commission is upheld for the benefit of the people.

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“I am conscious that there are more than 200 million Nigerians, all of whom are thirsty for fair elections, and peaceful elections. We are now only moments away, and I am very conscious that there are those who might want to mislead us and try to make us believe that violence is the way forward.

“But Nigerians have always resisted and I hope and pray that they will resist it again now. We know that more than 93 million Nigerians have registered to vote, more than 70 million of those Nigerians are under the age of 35, and about 46 percent of those who have registered are women. Their hopes and aspirations are there.

“Nigeria is the biggest country in Africa. So, what Nigeria does in terms of aspiration, and inspiration, feeds the whole of the continent. It feeds the rest of the Commonwealth as well.

“We are 2.5 billion people in our Commonwealth and we are all sitting, ready to applaud, and to celebrate the next peaceful, tranquil transition of power from the incumbent president to another.”

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In his remarks, Onyeama said President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to leave a legacy of credible elections for the country.

“As you know, President Muhammadu Buhari is totally committed to democracy, not only in Nigeria but across the ECOWAS sub-region and indeed in the whole of Africa; and he is absolutely determined that it should be one of his great legacies to be able to hand over to a successor in a framework of the peaceful and transparent election,” he said.

“We are extremely gratified that the Commonwealth is here and we believe that your presence will inspire us to deliver on Mr president’s commitment and vision for transparent, democratic, and safe elections for the people.”

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