President Muhammadu Buhari says as Nigerians enter the New Year, of 2023, they should uphold the spirit of unity that exists among them.
He advised in a New Year message to citizens, issued on Saturday, ahead of the celebrations earmarked for Sunday, January 1, 2023.
The President said he welcomes both commendations, and criticisms for the leadership he has given Nigeria from May 2015 to May next year, when his tenure will come to an end.
He said: “As we welcome the New Year, let us look with hope to 2023, a year to move forward as a Nation towards unity, progress and prosperity. I offer my felicitations, mindful of the various opinions and interpretations of our executive legacies.
“I welcome and accept both the accolades and criticisms in an equal measure secure in the conviction that I did my best to serve our dear country Nigeria and I pray that the next President will also pick up the baton and continue the race to make Nigeria one of the leading countries of the world by the end of this century.
“Long Live the Nigerian spirit of oneness, togetherness, and unity. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A Happy and prosperous New Year.”
President Buhari, who described his New Year message as a valedictory one, used the opportunity to call on citizens to reflect on the gains of the year 2022 and be poised to face the challenges of the next year.
“First, I would like to thank and honour the Almighty who saw us through the year 2022 and has allowed us to see another year. Each New Year is an opportunity to reflect on the past year, reposition, and move forward with the New.
“This year is particularly important to me because this message is in essence valedictory. After having the honour of serving you, my compatriots, for the last seven-plus years, my tenure as your President in the most revered tradition of our ongoing and maturing democracy must necessarily come to an end.
“As we celebrate the opportunity to be alive in the year 2023, we must also acknowledge the passing away of our brothers and sisters who didn’t make it into this New Year. May their souls rest in perfect peace,” he said.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the President reassured citizens that he will ensure there is a level playing ground for all contestants, leading to free and fair polls.
“In the next five months, we would have gone to the polls and elected a new president along with new governors and a plethora of other elected officials at both the national and state levels.
“All these electoral and democratic principles are working in concert because of the transcendent beliefs, beyond partisan politics, of you, the great citizen of Nigeria. In addition, is my commitment and executive promise to see to the letter that the 2023 elections being diligently conducted by INEC will be free and fair. The collective electoral will and votes of Nigerians will be fulfilled, even in the twilight moments of my watch,” he pledged.
He urged all qualified citizens to actively participate in the forthcoming election.
“In the year 2023, Nigerians go to the polls to exercise our right to vote and elect a new Administration, it is an important year for our country to ensure that we have another smooth transition of government, to whoever the people have decided upon. This administration’s landmark Amended Electoral Act will ensure that we have free and fair elections across the Nation.
“We as Nigerians must also take responsibility to ensure we participate in ensuring that the 2023 elections are free and fair by not engaging in anti-state activities and other nefarious acts that may affect the run of the polls. We must also resist every attempt to be used by politicians to create unrest in any form to disrupt the elections. We, as the government will ensure such activities are met with the full force of the law,” he said.
President Buhari noted with pride, the achievements of the country within the African continent and beyond under his leadership.
“Reflecting on the year 2022 allows us as a government to examine our legacies of successes and challenges. As we celebrate our wins and review obstacles, we all must understand that governance is a continuum, which still places a transitional responsibility on this administration to provide for the incoming government a non-partisan and objective roadmap for 2023.
“We as Nigeria; one country united under the will of God and actively growing as an indivisible entity, have been enabled year after year, decade after decade, to weather all stormy waters and emerge stronger and better where others have fallen and disintegrated. This has made us a unique nation across the globe and our continent,” he stated.
The Nigerian Leader urged citizens to continue to give the needed support to the military and other security agencies, as they find lasting solutions to the security challenges troubling the country.
“As our security agencies continue to make the country proud, we must continue to assist our patriotic forces by providing much-needed community intelligence. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that Nigeria remains safe and peaceful for us all. Therefore, we have a duty and obligation to support our troops and intelligence agencies by being alert and reporting anything suspicious.
“The fight against insurgency in the North East region has continually recorded very clear wins in the past year. The Federal Government, and the Borno State government, have started the journey of returning internally displaced persons to their ancestral homes earlier taken by the insurgents. Also, over 82,000 insurgents with their families have surrendered to the Nigerian military. Several surrendered insurgents are currently being processed by the rehabilitation (Operation Safe Corridor) program. The fight against banditry, kidnapping and other crimes in the North West and other regions is gaining momentum and showing very clear results. One of which is the resumption of Train Service along the Kaduna to Abuja corridor,” said the President.
He emphasized the Nigerian government’s commitment to revamping the economy, following the setbacks caused by the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.