By Abdullah Bello
President Muhammadu Buhari, has received letters of credence from Ambassadors and High Commissioners of six countries.
Receiving the letters at the State House, he assured that ”participation of citizens in democracy will continue to be encouraged through freedom of speech and robust political discourse”.
He said Nigeria’s strength remained in her diversity, and that the constant differences in positions had further signposted a strong democratic culture.
President Buhari then urged the Diplomats to show respect for divergent cultures, opinions, and uphold the unity of the country.
“As you settle down to your diplomatic responsibilities, you will realize how diverse Nigeria is. We are not only multi-ethnic and religious but also multi-cultural. We enjoy unfettered freedom of speech and engage in robust political discourses. Sometimes, the nature of these discourses, tend to give the impression that we are constantly opposed to each other.
The reality is that there is so much that bind us together than the few areas of our divergence. I have no doubts in my mind that you will soon appreciate our uniqueness and indeed resilience as a people, as well as our diversity which constitutes our strength,’’ he said.The Ambassadors and High Commissioners of Republic of India, Mr. Gangadharan Balasubramanian, Germany, Mrs. Annett Gunther, Sudan, Mr. Mohamed Yousif Ibrahim Abdelmannan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mrs. Gerengbo Yakivu Pascaline, State of Palestine, Abdullah Abu Shawesh, and the Kingdom of Netherlands, Mr. Willem Wouter Plomp, presented their Letters of Credence to President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari urged the diplomats to build on the existing good relations that their predecessors had achieved by being more proactive in engagements.
“Today’s occasion, during which you have just presented your Letters of Credence to me, officially marks the formal assumption of your representational duties as Ambassadors/High Commissioners of your respective countries to Nigeria,’’ the President noted.
2023 elections and global challenges
As the build up to the 2023 general election continues, President Buhari said he was highly optimistic that Nigeria would conduct a good transition process at the end of which a new set of political leaders would freely emerge.
“You are assuming your diplomatic responsibilities in Nigeria, at very interesting political period as Nigeria’s national elections are due in February 2023. I want to state again, as I did just a few days ago at the UN General Assembly, that we remain committed to free and fair elections,’’ he added.
The President called for more collaboration in tackling some of the challenges faced by the world noting that the climatic, economic and security concerns could only be solved through shared vision, skills and efforts.
“We are living in unprecedented global challenging time. Early in 2020, much of the world was forced to shut down on account of COVID-19. The catastrophic impact of the pandemic has been across our nations not just in terms of tragic loss of millions of lives, but also massive loss of livelihoods and the resultant economic recession.
“Just as we are recovering, the war in Ukraine came to impact negatively on global economy. Meanwhile, we are faced with the urgency to take collective actions to stop the devastating consequences of climate change that manifest every day in parts of the world”, the president said.
On behalf of the diplomats, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Gangadharan Balasubramanian, assured President Buhari, of the full support of their countries, especially as Nigeria counts down to the 2023 elections.
Balasubramanian pledged that they would work with the government, and the leaders that would emerge after elections.