President Muhammadu Buhari bid farewell to His Majesty, King Charles III, on Friday, saying his current trip to the UK would be his last official engagement with the monarch.
The President stated this while addressing his colleagues at the Commonwealth Leaders Summit as part of the major events leading to the coronation of the monarch as King of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Commonwealth.
At the event with the theme: “The Commonwealth as a body and the role of the Youth”, Buhari thanked other world leaders, expressing joy at shared aspirations and values within the period he related with them.
“As I come before you today, I am also mindful that this would be my last official engagement with His Majesty The King and some of you as I leave office on 29 May 2023. I, therefore, feel both humble and grateful for this extraordinary and significantly important moment.”
“Over the years, I have worked cordially with the leaders of Commonwealth to achieve the values and principles of the Commonwealth which are shared by its members – the aspirations of the Commonwealth family which include positioning it to be a strong and respected voice in the world and improving the lives of all its citizens are being vigorously pursued,” he said.
He said the country learnt lessons in the conduct of the 2023 general elections which would make subsequent polls even better.
Buhari expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria considering the turnout of voters and the generally peaceful atmosphere under which it took place.
According to the President, “these elections saw a remarkable turnout of voters and proof that Nigeria’s democracy is maturing. Despite some pockets of violence, we have demonstrated that a government can be elected peacefully and fairly.
“Lessons have been learnt and moving forward, we hope to perform even better. Based on this, I am delighted to note that we have taken another step towards deepening our democracy with peaceful, transparent and credible outcomes. Though we are aware that challenges still exist, we are committed to working towards a greater participation of all Nigerians in the democratic process, including those in the diaspora.”
While thanking the Commonwealth for sending a team to witness the conduct of the elections, he noted that the elections were generally free and fair, and the mood of the Nation after the announcement of the winners so far shows that democracy in Nigeria is maturing and can only get better.
President Buhari highlighted the key role Nigerian youths played during the elections as well as in support of national development, attributing a great part of this youth participation in the General Elections to the assent of ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Bill signed into law by his Administration in 2018.
He announced that Nigeria would also host the Commonwealth Youth and Students Summit for African Region, with the theme, ‘Making Change Happen’ in Abuja from May 9-11, this year.