President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his commitment not to run for office in 2023, dismissing suggestions to the contrary.
This was Buhari’s position in his New Year’s message to Nigerians on Wednesday, stating that he would not participate in any future elections after the expiration of his tenure in 2023.
The president’s comment comes amid speculations of a third-term agenda. Femi Falana, senior lawyer, had alleged the third-term plan was initiated in September.
But Buhari has once again dismissed the claim, saying: “I understand very well the frustrations our system has in the past triggered. I will be standing down in 2023 and will not be available in any future elections.”
He added that he is determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the West African region.
Here are other highlights of the president’s message:
NIGERIANS REAPING THE FRUIT OF GROWTH IN AGRIC SECTOR
Buhari said his administration has been able to achieve a revolution in the agricultural sector, adding that citizens now enjoy locally made food.
He said: “As we have sat down to celebrate with friends and family over this holiday season, for the first time in a generation our food plates have not all been filled with imports of products we know can easily be produced here at home.
“The revolution in agriculture is already a reality in all corners of the country. New agreements with Morocco, Russia and others will help us access on attractive terms the inputs we need to accelerate the transformation in farming that is taking place.”
COMMITS TO RESPECT FOR RULE OF LAW
Amid allegations of disregard for human rights, Buhari also said the nation’s security forces will be trained on professional ethics and respect for the fundamental rights of individuals.
“Our actions at all times will be governed by the rule of law. At the same time, we shall look always to engage with all well-meaning leaders and citizens of goodwill to promote dialogue, partnership and understanding,” he said.
SECURITY FORCES TO OPERATE IN LINE WITH GLOBAL STANDARDS
Buhari also said his administration will continue to work with state governors, neighbouring states and international partners to tackle the root causes of violent extremism and “the networks that help finance and organise terror”.
He said Nigeria’s fight against crime “has not been easy” but “as we are winning the war, we also look to the challenge of winning the peace, the reconstruction of lives, communities and markets”.
According to him, “our security forces will receive the best training and modern weaponry, and in turn will be held to the highest standards of professionalism, and respect for human rights. We will use all the human and emerging technological resources available to tackle kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery.”
PROJECTS TO EXPECT IN 2020
The president listed some projects which his administration plans to carry out in 2020 in the various sectors of the economy — from transportation to power.
The projects are:
* 47 road projects scheduled for completion in 2020/21, including roads leading to ports;
* Major bridges including substantial work on the Second Niger Bridge;
* Completion of 13 housing estates under the National Housing Project Plan;
* Lagos, Kano, Maiduguri and Enugu international airports to be commissioned in 2020;
* Launching of an agricultural rural mechanisation scheme that will cover 700 local governments over a period of three years;
* Launching of the Livestock Development Project Grazing Model in Gombe State where 200,000 hectares of land has been identified;
* Training of 50,000 workers to complement the country’s 7,000 extension workers;
* Commissioning of the Lagos – Ibadan and Itakpe – Warri rail lines in the first quarter;
* Commencement of the Ibadan – Abuja and Kano – Kaduna rail lines also in the first quarter;
* Further liberalisation of the power sector to allow businesses to generate and sell power;
* Commencement of the construction of the Mambilla Power project by the first half of 2020; and
* Commencement of the construction of the AKK gas pipeline, OB3 gas pipeline and the expansion of the Escravos – Lagos pipeline in the first quarter of 2020.