Nigeria committed to stabilising democratic system – Buhari

By Ukpono Ukpong

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Seoul, South Korea, reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to stabilising the country’s democratic system.

Speaking during his meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Kim Jin-Pyo, on the sidelines of the World Bio Summit 2022, the President declared that the successes achieved in the recent off-season elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States, confirmed that the people of Nigeria have approved the democratic form of government.

He said: “We are proud that our patriotic people are given the right to choose who will govern and represent them in the various legislative houses at state and federal levels.”

Recalling his political journey dotted with several attempts and court cases to clinch the Presidency, the Nigerian leader praised the introduction of technology, especially the use of Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) for his eventual success at the polls, while noting that the diversities introduced by the colonial history of Nigeria unlike in Korea, have not made governance easy.

Describing the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NNPC Ltd and Daewoo Group for the rehabilitation of the Kaduna Refinery which took place shortly before the President’s visit to the Parliament, as “very significant,” the Nigerian President, who noted that “technology transfer is not easy,” expressed appreciation to the Korean government for its generosity in the rehabilitation of both Kaduna and Warri refineries.

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He also commended the resourcefulness of the Korean shipping industry, and thanked the host government’s assistance towards the rehabilitation of Nigeria’s infrastructure, describing it as “crucial.”

Declaring that Nigeria was trying to be self-sufficient in many areas due to her huge population so that she can be of help to other countries in the sub-region as well, President Buhari affirmed that good education and health are “very critical and fundamental to our state of development.”

His words: “We are doing our best to see what government can provide and hope the people appreciate our efforts.”

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Speaker thanked President Buhari for his first visit to the Korean Parliament and commiserated with Nigeria over the havoc caused by floods.

Describing Nigeria as a “cultural power house” rich in population, natural resources and high GDP, Mr. Jin-Pyo, said the Korean Parliament valued its relationship with Nigeria and loved to see increased “people-to-people” interactions.

He noted that under President Buhari’s leadership, the Republic of Korea was able to grow bilateral trade with Nigeria by 30 per cent last year, and looked forward to expanded trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) regime.

The Speaker expressed his government’s readiness to assist Nigeria in human capacity building, while requesting for support as Korea planned to host EXPO 2030 in Busam, adding that he believed many Nigerian companies would attend.

He thanked the Nigerian President for addressing the World Bio Summit and commended Nigeria’s choice as a manufacturing hub for vaccines with Korea ready to provide requisite staff training.

Mr. Jin-Pyo said: “Your visit will serve as a momentum to build on existing bilateral relations and expand to other areas like healthcare while finding ways to fund and provide better life for our peoples and engendering stronger Parliaments.”

Other ranking Parliamentarians in their remarks, praised President Buhari’s personal integrity and firm commitment to the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria.

Also, President Buhari Thursday in Seoul, Republic of Korea, reminded Nigerians resident in the Asian country that they are the “faces of Nigeria,” and should endeavour to project a positive image of the country through their actions, characters, conducts and general comportments.

The President stated this during an interactive meeting with the leadership and select members of the Nigerian Community as part of his engagements at the end of the First World Bio Summit 2022, while urging them to remain good ambassadors of Nigeria at all times.

President Buhari said: “As law abiding citizens of our great country, I advise that you replicate the excellent Nigerian virtues by coexisting peacefully with your hosts and abide by the laws of the land. You must always strive to eschew any acts of lawlessness in your day-to-day activities and to take it as major responsibility to encourage other Nigerians to always remain of excellent behaviour.”

Further reminding them that “Nigeria is and will always be our only country,” he enjoined them “to always pray and work for the peace and prosperity of our beloved country. Let us desist from any acts capable of causing disaffection among our people. Nigerians in diaspora in many countries of the world have achieved tremendous successes through hard work, resilience and resourcefulness and I have no doubt in my mind that similar success stories will continue to be replicated amongst the Nigerian diaspora community in the Republic of South Korea.”

The Nigerian leader, who assured them that the Federal Government, through the Embassy will always strive to protect their interests by ensuring that “none of you is unjustly treated at all times,” appealed to them to “see all Nigerians as brothers and sisters irrespective of tribe and religion and collectively work to positively project the image of the country.”

On preparations for the 2023 national elections, which he said, are in active stages, the President sought for their “prayers and support to enable us transit peacefully to the next administration and deepen the democratic processes in our country,” expressing delight that the “outcomes of the last four off-season elections, have left us with great optimism for better conducted and acceptable 2023 elections.”

Speaking earlier on behalf of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), South Korea, the President, Chiemeka Ndukwu, had thanked President Buhari for creating Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NiDCOM) as well as “approving a production line for international passports which we now have here in the Republic of Korea,” adding that “This has eased the stress of going to China, Malaysia or back home for intervention.”

He appealed to the Federal Government to reach a Bilateral Labour Agreement (BLA) with the Republic of Korea, stressing that if signed, it “will not just create job opportunities and increase foreign exchange remittance,” but “also ensure the transfer of technology and skills since these trainees will not just return to Nigeria with enough capital to set up factories and businesses that will employ people, they will also be returning with the skills and technology they acquired.”

Other prominent NIDO members who also attended the interactive session were drawn from construction, insurance, private business sectors as well as male and female representatives of students undergoing post-graduate studies in specialized fields.

It is noteworthy that Engr. Dogara Gani who specializes in smart farming through drone technology; Ms. Hussaina Abdullahi, an IT specialist; and Dr. Kalu Ekpeghere, an assistant professor in environmental engineering at Woosong University, were among other well-established Nigerians in South Korea who also participated in the meeting coordinated by NiDCOM Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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