President Muhammadu Buhari has advised diplomats to stay within the limits of their schedules, and not intrude in the internal politics of the country, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The president gave the warning at the presentation of Letters of Credence for the Ambassadors of Czech Republic, Zdenek Krejci; Italy, Stephano De Leo; Spain, Juan Ignacio Sell Sanz and Israel, Michael Shual Freeman at the State House, Abuja on Thursday.
“You are assuming your diplomatic responsibilities in Nigeria at a very interesting political period as Nigeria’s national elections are due in early 2023.
“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,’’ he said.
The president called for the support of the envoys in tackling rising global insecurity, and strengthening of communality.
“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.
“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.
“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, among other aspirations,’’ he said.
He noted that Nigeria’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.
Buhari urged the Ambassadors to build lasting friendships in the course of performing their duties that will go beyond their assignments in Nigeria.
On the regional level, the president said Nigeria would continue to work with other member-states of ECOWAS and regional blocs to deal with the problems of terrorism, trans-border crimes, banditry, maritime issues and unconstitutional change of government.
“We are engaging in frank self-retrospection 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 said.
The president assured of partnership and mutual cooperation in canvassing more Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the 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 the State of Israel, enjoy very cordial bilateral relations and cooperation with Nigeria that span across our socio-economic 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 benefit 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 the strengthening of mutual and beneficial relations with their countries.