President Muhammadu Buhari has urged foreign envoys in Nigeria to be guided by diplomatic practices to ensure that their activities remain within the limits of their profession in the buildup to the 2023 general elections.
He gave the advice yesterday during a brief ceremony at the State House, Abuja, where the ambassadors of Japan, European Union, Burundi, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Cape Verde, France, Qatar and high commissioners of Sierra Leone and Ghana submitted Letters of Credence.
Buhari, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, told the envoys that they were assuming diplomatic responsibilities in Nigeria at a very interesting political period.
‘‘Nigeria’s national elections are due in early 2023. The momentum for enhanced political activities is therefore expected to commence soon.
‘‘The nature of our politicking often gives the impression of very rancorous engagements. It is the nature of politics here. Besides, democracy and related democratic activities in the build-up to elections are necessarily rowdy and very argumentative, but very much within the limits of freedom of action that the art of democracy permits.
‘‘As you settle down in the face of these developments, it is my hope that you will also be guided by diplomatic practices, to ensure that your activities remain within the limits of your profession,’’ he said.
The president told the newly accredited envoys that he looked forward to a more robust relationship with each of their countries.
The newly accredited ambassadors were Matsunaga Kazuyoshi (Japan), Leena Pylvanainen (Finland), Samuela Isopi (European Union), Maria Jeanne Ntakirutimana (Burundi) Monsieur Sune Krogstrup (Denmark), Sile Maguire (Ireland), Belarmino Silva (Cape Verde), Ali Ghanem Ali Alfahed Alhajri (Qatar) and Emmanuella Blatmann (France).
The high commissioners were Sydney Dowu Davies (Sierra Leone) and Alhaji Rashid Bawa (Ghana).
Speaking on behalf of the Ambassadors, the Japanese ambassador pledged that they are willing to strengthen existing bilateral relations with Nigeria, adding that they would work together on ways to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, a newly formed group, National Interest Forum (NIF), has announced plans to embark on the mobilisation of Nigerians to ensure peaceful general elections in 2023.
Nigeria has in recent times experienced various agitations threatening her unity, one of which is the agitation for power shift to the South in 2023.
Addressing newsmen during the launch of #OurNationFirs# movement on Monday in Abuja, the national chairman of the forum, Alhaji Gambo Lawan, called on all political parties, religious and traditional leaders to mobilise for the peace and unity of the country.