By Princess-Ekwi Ajide. Abuja
United Nations, UN, says it expects Nigeria’s 2023 general election to be exemplary in West Africa and Africa as a whole.
The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Mahamat Saleh who gave the charge when he led a delegation to the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abuja , said, they have been conferring with key actors from Nigeria, with the simple message, that the next election be free and acceptable by all.
He said: “And you as APC, the party in power has an important role to play. We would as UN supporting you, the INEC playing a very important role, we call on all the actors to allow the election to be conducted peacefully”.
According to him, the saying that “when Nigeria sneezes all the region catches cold.” Should be exhibited and be the locomotive for the region especially in the selection of candidates.
Mr. Saleh, said, the UN office for West Africa and the Sahel has and works with about 15 countries, and they encourage good example saying that though Nigeria has multiple challenges, it has capacity in terms of resilience to overcome the challenges.
In his response, the National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, represented by his deputy North Senator Abubakar Kyari, called for concerted effort of the UN and the international community to support the process of peace-building and reconstruction in all parts of Nigeria that have been adversely affected by insurgency and other forms of unrest and insecurity.
He noted that the greatest challenge facing many states in Nigeria especially Borno State devastated by crisis is adequate funding for the State Government’s resettlement projects that would require the reconstruction of entire towns and villages and restoration of services like electricity, water and sanitation and reopening of schools and hospitals in virtually all parts of the State
Senator Adamu, further noted the Party acknowledges the work of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General as encompassing various elements of the United Nations mandate more especially in areas such as achieving sustainable development in accordance with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals or Agenda 2030 which is a critical vehicle towards the achievement of various other human development targets and goals including peace and security, addressing the impacts of climate change in Africa especially in the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin, advancing the rights of women and young people, combating desertification, and preventing illegal migration from West Africa to other parts of the world.
He commended the SRSG for his work in the various areas particularly in addressing the subject of women, peace and security in West Africa and the Sahel region where women have been exposed to egregious violence and human rights abuses of various sorts and informed him that the APC is poised to going into the general elections with commitment to observing the rule of law with every intents of participating peacefully.
The National Chairman, emphasised that being the ruling Party and one with the largest number of registered members numbering 43 million people, the APC has every stake in the orderly and peaceful conduct of the elections across Nigeria.
According to him, the APC considers the Ekiti State gubernatorial election as a referendum and a vote of confidence in the Party as well as a pointer to 2023 when the Party hopes to form the government in the center and also in most of the states across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He assured the UN through the SRSG that the APC is committed to the ideals of democratic governance and observance of rule of law in all its undertakings, and shall continue to apply them diligently while canvassing for votes and while it forms the next national government in 2023 while informing the delegation of its progress in Nigeria since it came to power in 2015 especially in the area of infrastructure development and reaffirmed the commitment of the Party to take Nigeria to higher levels of material and cultural development in the coming years particularly by the holistic implementation of the UN SDGs as well as the African Union Agenda 2063 and the AU Programme of Infrastructure Development (PIDA).