The European Union (EU) has urged the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that Nigerians enjoyed the dividends of democracy.
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Michel Arrion, made the call at the Europe Day 2015 in Abuja. He explained that democracy meant nothing to the common man except it led to the improvement of their lives.
“But democracy only makes meaning to the common man to the extent that it delivers good governance, creates opportunities and improves the quality of living,” said Arrion.
“Nigeria is rich, but Nigerians are poor. The incoming administration will have a lot to do in this regard.
“It must ensure that Nigeria’s massive population is galvanised into a formidable productive force that will generate wealth that is equally or rather equitably shared among all citizens,” he said.
According to the ambassador, the world is waiting to see a Nigeria with the basic freedoms that distinguish democratic societies, especially with the new government coming in.
“The government must ensure that the basic freedoms including economic rights and welfare are not the exclusive preserve of a privileged few.”
Arrion reminded Buhari of his pre and post-election promises to pursue three priority objectives. The first being “to swiftly end the insurgency in the North East and restore peace and stability. The second; to eradicate corruption, while the third is to put policies in place to put Nigeria’s economy on a proper footing.
He said that these goals set for the incoming government match closely the European Union’s vision for the country.
“Let me add a fourth objective that is very important for the European Union: regional integration,” he said.
Arrion said that the EU strongly believed that peace and stability, as well as the economic development of Nigeria were achievable. But these will be better achieved within the framework of a closer and deeper co-operation between Nigeria and its neighbours in West and Central Africa.
“It is in that global context that the partnership between Nigeria and the EU is taking place.
“I am delighted to state that Nigeria and EU do share very strong relations of mutual trust and partnership.
“And I am very happy to confirm the excellent quality of our local political and policy dialogue between the 21 European Ambassadors and High Commissioner and the Government of Nigeria.”