This was how he reaffirmed Nigeria‘s commitment to work with the West African country to sustain and strengthen democracy and good governance in the sub-region and across the continent.
“You must always ensure that the electoral process is carried out under free and fair conditions,” the president said during a one-day state visit to the embattled West African country where he was awarded the country’s highest national honour; the Amilcar Cabral Prize and the naming of an important street in his honor in Bissau, the capital.
This is according to a statement signed on Wednesday by the Principal Special Assistant to the President for Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, titled President Buhari pledges to defend democracy in Africa.
While offering words of encouragement to Bissau-Guineans for supporting the democratically elected administration of President Umaro Embaló against threats from anti-democratic forces, he encouraged them to support the entrenchment of democratic values in their country.
He said: “You must always ensure that the electoral process is carried out under free and fair conditions.”
The president also welcomed the awarding of the country’s highest national honor, the Amilcar Cabral Award, and the naming of a main street in Bissau, the capital, in his honor.
“In the course of this one-day official visit to Bissau today, we had the opportunity to review the state of our bilateral relations and share concerns about the challenges we face in the region.
“I greatly appreciate the naming of two highways in my honor, as well as receiving Guinea Bissau’s highest honor.
“I am personally grateful to you, your government, and the people of this fine country. I believe all of this was made possible by Nigeria’s persevering position to ensure that Guinea Bissau remains on the side of democratic governance.
He said that Nigeria’s strong stand through the Economic Community of West African States, in insisting on the full implementation of the Conakry Peace Agreement by imposing sanctions on 19 people who prevented the implementation of the Conakry Agreement helped to restore the peace that now prevails in Guinea Bissau.
“Guinea Bissau and Nigeria have come a long way. Our cordial relations date back to the liberation struggle of Guinea Bissau from Portugal when Nigeria supported the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde.
“Nigeria has intervened on its own, as well as through ECOWAS, at critical periods in the life of this country, making immense direct contributions and supporting international efforts in the peace process in Guinea Bissau. This fact has further strengthened our relations, enhanced understanding and trust between our two countries,” Buhari said.
He then congratulated the people of Guinea Bissau for supporting Abhay, a name he affectionately calls President Embalo.
The president assured Embalo of Nigeria’s continued willingness to strengthen cooperation with Guinea Bissau at both the bilateral and multilateral levels.
For his part, the President of Guinea-Bissau praised Nigeria for always standing by his side in his 20 years of instability.
“You have helped us with our elections. It has helped stabilize Guinea Bissau. I assure you that your support for democracy in this country and in the entire sub-region is highly appreciated by the people, who, as you have seen, came out in droves to greet you, ”he said.
Embalo assured Buhari that he would follow in his footsteps to ensure free and fair elections in his country and would leave in time when his term ended.
He also thanked the President for assisting the country with 70 doctors who did the double duty of training Guineans and performing surgeries in the country without their citizens having to travel to Portugal.
Regarding the “Amilcar Cabral Award” given to the President and the main street called Boulevard Muhammadu Buhari, President Embalo said that the two events reflect the most solemn moment in the country and a recognition of the stabilizing role that President Buhari was playing in life. of his country, as well as his defense of democracy and his values throughout the sub-region.
He promised to invite the president back to commission the new Presidential Villa, now under construction even after leaving office, and the building would be named Muhammadu Buhari Villa.
Nigerian officials receiving the country’s merit award were: Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama; the National Security Advisor, Div. Gen. Babagana Monguno; the President’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar.
The others are the Senior Special Assistant to the President in Internal Affairs, Sarki Abba and the Chief of State Protocol, Lawal Kazaure.
The President landed in Katsina and is now in Daura, his hometown.