From Atiku Sarki, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has advised diplomats in the country to stay within the limit of their schedules and not to intrude in the internal politics of the country as countdown to 2023 elections begins.
At the presentation of letters of credence ceremony held at the State House, Abuja yesterday, President Buhari, who welcomed the Ambassadors of Czech Republic, Zdenek Krejci; Italy, Stephano De Leo; Spain, Juan Ignacio Sell Sanz and Israel, Michael Shual Freeman, said: “You are assuming your diplomatic responsibilities in Nigeria at very interesting political period as Nigeria’s national elections are due in early 2023.”
He hoped that the diplomats would be guided by diplomatic practice to ensuring that their activities remain within the limit of their profession while monitoring the build-up to as well as the conduct of the general elections next year.
His words: “As you settle down in the face of these developments, it is my hope that you will also be guided by diplomatic practice, to ensure that your activities remain within the limits of your profession as you monitor the build-up to and the conduct of the general elections next year.’’
The President called for the support of the envoys in tackling rising global insecurity and strengthening of communality as the nation is faced with unprecedented times with so many uncertainties.
“We are living in unprecedented times and with so many uncertainties, especially with the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the rise in global insecurity and the devastation of our environments caused by climate change among other existential threats to our collective peace, progress and shared values,” the president said.
He added: “Different factors that accounted for these challenges go beyond the abilities of any single country to effectively contain alone. “Matters of security have become the business of all the nations of the world to work closely together to build consensus in order to overcome these challenges.”
President Buhari told the diplomats: “For us in Nigeria, we continue to make steady progress despite the daunting challenges, especially in the areas of insecurity, fight against corruption, diversification of the economy and our efforts in promoting good governance, amongst other aspirations.’’
He noted that the country’s differences and divergence in culture and religion had contributed immensely in cementing unity, as a people, as well as spurring religious tolerance and respect for one another.
The president urged the Ambassadors to build lasting friendships in the course of performing their duties that would go beyond assignments in the country.
On the regional level, the president said the nation would continue to work with other member-states of ECOWAS and regional blocs to deal with the problems of terrorism, transborder crimes, banditry, maritime issues and unconstitutional change of government.
“We are engaging in frank selfretrospection in order to identify and isolate appropriate containment strategies that can help de-escalate the drift into the unconstitutional seizure of power in the sub region,” he added.
He assured of partnership and mutual cooperation in canvassing more Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in healthcare system, education, infrastructure, local manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness and transportation.
“The countries which you all represent, namely, Czech Republic, Republic of Italy, Kingdom of Spain and State of Israel, enjoy very cordial bilateral relations and cooperation with Nigeria that span across our socioeconomic and cultural spheres.
“Therefore, the envious task of building on the successes of your respective predecessors will further advance our relations to significant heights for the benefits of our countries and peoples.
“As you settle down to your diplomatic responsibilities, I am sure that you will appreciate the uniqueness and strength in our country’s political, socio-economic and cultural diversities, in terms of both human and natural resources,” the President said.
In his response, on behalf of the diplomats, the Ambassador of Czech Republic assured the President of “comprehensive cooperation” of the representatives.
Krejc said the envoys would work for the development of Nigeria, through strengthening of mutual and beneficial relations with their countries.