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At Inauguration lecture, Uhuru Kenyatta charges President-elect to unite Nigeria

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–Tinubu affirms democracy as cornerstone for sustainable development

-President Buhari says Nigeria’s diversity is strength

President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Saturday, spoke on the significance of democracy in driving Nigeria’s sustainable development.

Speaking at the Inauguration Lecture delivered by former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, Tinubu highlighted the indispensable role of democracy as the cornerstone for the nation’s progress and prosperity, emphasising the vital nature of democracy in advancing the nation’s interests.

In his speech, the keynote speaker, former President Kenyatta appealed to the incoming President of Nigeria to unite the country irrespective of ethnic, political and religious clevages that may exist.

“The contest is now over and the hardwork of building a prosperous and unified Nigeria now begins. Upon assuming the office of President, you would be wise to transcend from tactical politics of an election and assume your role as Nigeria’s vision bearer.”

While making his remarks at the lecture, outgoing President Buhari noted that the inauguration lecture took participants on a journey of introspection on the imperatives of democratic governance and nation-building and that the various challenges that confront the socio-political fabrics of Nigeria were highlighted.

“We have learnt that democracy is not just a system of governance. It is a way of life. True democracy is when voice of people are heard. Our nations progress rest on inclusivity, unity and not leaving any citizen behind and by ensuring every citizen enjoy dividends of good governance. We must heed the lessons of this lecture and translate them into action. We must fight against corruption in all its form. We must remain united. Our diversity is our strength.

“We can overcome our differences and forge a common cause towards progress,” President Buhari said.

The President-elect address was delivered by the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, who used the opportunity to call on Nigerians to stand together with the incoming administration to birth a better country.

President-elect Tinubu, in his speech, restated his commitment to the ideals of democracy as the best form of government.

“Distinguished guests, democracy is more than a system of governance; it is the very lifeblood that empowers a nation to flourish and thrive,” the President-elect said.

“We stand at the precipice of a new era, where the ideals of democracy will guide our path towards sustainable development.”

Tinubu while embracing his African identity, reaffirmed his love for the continent. He also recognized the collective efforts of Nigerians and Africans in shaping their democratic political cultures and institutions, tailored to the unique conditions and challenges faced by their societies.

He articulated the essence of democracy, emphasizing that it transcends being a mere form of government. “Democracy, my fellow countrymen, is not only a political system; it is a way of life. It embodies a distinctive code of thought and conduct, demanding the utmost integrity and self-improvement from leaders,” he said.

Stating the paradoxical nature of democracy, the President-elect noted that while it guarantees freedom, its survival hinges on responsible and measured use of that freedom, adding that democracy, as an ever-evolving concept, empowers the majority to express their will while safeguarding the fundamental interests of the minority.

“Our democracy is not an abstract ideal; it is a practical vessel that will propel our nation to new heights in every facet of our collective existence,” Tinubu added.

Drawing insights from Nigeria’s national experience, he acknowledged the merits of democracy even in its imperfect manifestations, stressing that it surpasses the most perfect dictatorship in terms of justice, humanity, and productivity.

He also mentioned the importance of fostering open forums for discussion and debate, where the best ideas and policies can enter the national discourse and capture the imagination of the people. He pledged to utilize democratic institutions not only to safeguard political and civil rights but also to drive comprehensive economic reforms that engender broad-based prosperity, create employment opportunities, and unlock the nation’s untapped potential.

“Today, I stand before you, ready to dedicate my entire being to the service of our great nation and the African continent,” the President-elect proclaimed resolutely.

He expressed deep gratitude to President Kenyatta for his exceptional address, which further invigorated his commitment to the transformative power of democracy.

The well-attended lecture had in attendance National Chairman of ruling All Progressives Congress, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Deputy Speaker House of Representatives Idris Wase, Secretary to the Government of Federation, Boss Mustapha, Sultan Mohammed Abubakar Sa’ad of Sokoto, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Bishop Mathew Kukah, President of Africa Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina and Deputy Secretary-General of United Nations, Amina Muhammed.

Others at the event included Ministers, National Assembly members and other top government officials