President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday night in Lisbon, Portugal gave assurances of a free hand to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), reiterating the commitment of his administration to ensure that the Commission delivers peaceful, transparent, free, fair, and Impartial elections next year.
The President stated that with the end of the political party primaries, all eyes are now on the 2023 elections in Nigeria at a meeting with representatives of Nigerians residing in Portugal.
“We also anticipate a seamless changeover to the next administration. The wellbeing of Nigerians at home and abroad is a priority for our government, as I have already stated,” the president remarked.
Citing the last gubernatorial elections in Anambra and Ekiti States, the president noted that this administration has proven consistently its zero tolerance for interference in elections and insistence that Nigerians should be allowed to vote for the party and candidate of their choice.
The president also used the occasion to caution against the use of social media to insult and incite from a safe and anonymous distance, urging the Diaspora to always promote Nigeria’s unity.
‘‘The world is a global village and technology has shrunk the world even more. Although you reside beyond Nigeria’s boundaries you can engage easily with the country. In fact, we see the impact of that engagement clearly on social media.
‘‘This platform has empowered Nigerians in the Diaspora and given you great influence. As we have seen, however, social media can be a force for good as well as a force for evil.
‘‘Many countries, including our own, have had to take strong measures against some social media platforms to curb their excesses and prevent them from destabilising our societies.
‘‘I, therefore, call upon you to use social media responsibly. We all want the best for our country and people, so let us strive to build, unite and prosper our nation and people and not to insult and incite from a safe and anonymous distance.’’
President Buhari expressed delight in the successful involvement of Diaspora in various fields such as agriculture, health care, education, ICT, and the food industry in Nigeria.
He noted that many countries, including Nigeria, have shown that their diaspora can be a veritable engine for growth and development.