President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday hosted members of the Diplomatic Corps to Iftar dinner, warning against foreign interference as he vows to use every legitimate means to protect the votes of Nigerians during the 2023 general elections.
The President therefore advised those planning to rig the general elections to perish the thought.
‘‘Those planning to rig the forthcoming elections should think twice because I intend to resolutely protect and defend the sacred will of the Nigerian people, to be expressed through the ballot box,’’ he said.
Buhari also cautioned against foreign interference in the forthcoming elections.
‘‘As you are all aware, the tenure of this Administration ends on 29th May, 2023. Typical of election years all over the world, the tempo of political activities is often high.
‘‘That is the nature of democracy. I am committed to bequeathing a stronger culture of credible elections to Nigeria than I met.
‘‘As Nigeria goes through this trajectory, I urge our friends in the global community, represented by you the Diplomatic Corps, to adopt a positive role that reinforces the doctrine of respect for our internal affairs and respect for facts and devoid of pre-conceived notions and bias,’’ he said.
Buhari, while addressing the Russia-Ukraine conflict, called for greater consideration for humanitarian conditions in the affected areas in the ongoing crisis
He warned that the conflict would get worse if an immediate resolution was not found.
President Buhari welcomed the recent initiative of UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres, of visiting Moscow and Kyiv, commending his efforts in search of a ceasefire, as a prelude to other enduring solutions.
The President urged the world, especially the Muslim community, to use the solemn and rewarding month of Ramadan, and especially these last days of the fast, to intensify prayers for de-escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and for the return of peace to the world.
On COVID-19, the President, who restated Nigeria’s demand for vaccine equity and waiver of patents for manufacturing vaccines and approved drugs to treat the highly infectious disease, said the country would continue to expand its capacities for managing the pandemic.
Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and High Commissioner of Cameroon to Nigeria, Amb. Ibrahima Salaheddine, pledged that the international community would continue to support Nigeria before, during and after the forthcoming general elections.