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Nigeria: Uhuru urges President-elect to unite Nigerians

The former Head of State congratulated the people of Nigeria for holding peaceful elections

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday graced the 2023 Presidential Inauguration Lecture held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, Nigeria.

In his keynote address at the event, themed Deepening Democracy For Development, Uhuru pointed out the importance of democracy in spurring development in any country, especially in the African Continent.

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The former Head of State shared his experience as a head of state for two terms, where he acknowledged the successes, failures, and opportunities of embracing democracy, articulating the importance of getting to the root causes of conflict within the continent and our African countries for the continent’s development. The former President further pointed out the three most fundamental issues weaponized to the detriment of our democratic growth as ethnicity, tribalism, and economic greed.

“I feel the three most fundamental issues that are easily weaponized to the detriment of our democratic growth. The first is negative ethnicity or tribalism, followed by religion, and lastly, economic greed,” Kenyatta said.

He expressed his confidence that if the continent addressed these issues in earnest, it would begin to harness its mineral wealth, agricultural potential, and abundant human capital to propel the people’s well-being and strengthen the continent’s voice in the global community of Nations.

He called on President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to unite all Nigerians irrespective of religion, tribe, political and other affiliations.

He further urged him to embrace the inclusivity of all parties for a better Country.

“I speak to you as a brother and an elder statesman in leadership. The contest is now over, and the hard work of building a prosperous and unified Nigeria begins”, he said.

Acknowledging the President-elect’s task once he assumes office, Kenyatta urged Tinubu to transcend an election’s tactical politics and become Nigeria’s vision bearer.

“I encourage you to surround yourself with the voices of those who will counterbalance the hardliners that feel entitled to a piece of your office. You will lose nothing and gain everything from reaching out across political, ethnic, and religious lines to those who may feel aggrieved by your victory in one way or another. Allow them to exhale and to be a part of your vision for a greater Nigeria,”He encouraged the President-Elect.

The former Head of State congratulated the people of Nigeria for holding peaceful elections, overlooking the challenges, and embracing the lessons from a maturing democracy.

Furthermore, he commended all the contestants for expressing their political differences within the provided framework of constitutional order urging them to shun divisive politics and embrace finding strength in their diversities.

Other speakers who delivered their lecturers on different aspects included; His Eminence Mohammed Sa ád Abubakar III, C.F.R. Sultan of Sokoto & Most Rev. Dr. Mathew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, who spoke on Tolerance and Inclusiveness, Ms. Amina Jane Mohammed, G.C.O.N., Deputy Secretary-General (Security and Development), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB) who emphasized on the importance of strengthening the Nigerian Economy and Mr. Dayo Israel, National Youth Leader, All Progressives Congress who spoke on the importance of youth inclusiveness in governance.

The outgoing President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, who also attended the ceremony, noted that democracy was not merely a system of governance but a way of life that requires active participation, inclusivity, and relentless pursuit of justice and fairness.

Also present was Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima, Deputy Speaker of the Nigeria National Assembly, Hon. Ahmed Idris, among other dignitaries.

The Inaugural Lecture organized by the Nigeria Presidential transition council aims to bridge the divisions prevalent in Nigerian society, foster dialogue, and promote collective responsibility toward national development.

The Presidential Inauguration Lecture is part of the activities organized to commemorate Nigeria’s Seventh consecutive civilian transition.

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