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By Deji Elumoye
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday emphasised the commitment of Nigeria to the enthronement of democracy and good governance in Africa.
Speaking in Abuja at a virtual support mission and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Committee of Heads of State and Government participating in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APR Forum) and Nigeria on the ongoing second peer review process, the president said Nigeria has consistently supported the strengthening of democracy and good governance throughout Africa, including under the umbrella of the African Peer Review Mechanism.
“We remain fully committed to promoting the good governance practice enshrined in the ideals and vision of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, which gave birth to this review mechanism.
“Nigeria will continue to support Africa’s renewal and rebirth evident in the collective commitment to this review in order to consolidate Africa’s path to healthy democracy and sustainable growth,” he stated.
Buhari hailed the progress made so far in the “Africa Peer Review Mechanism as a self-monitoring tool to address governance deficit in Africa, as we conform to our shared values in the areas of democracy and political governance, economic governance, corporate governance and socio-economic development.”
He said Nigeria had the first peer review in 2008 and since then, had covered an appreciable ground in the implementation of the National Programme of Action.
He said: “Our administration has continued to vigorously pursue security, economic diversification and anti-corruption as the main thrust of national change agenda.
“The totality of this strategy is premised on the promotion of democracy, respect for the rule of law and human rights, gender equality and by far the largest investment in social change in Nigeria’s post-independence history.”
He expressed the readiness of the federal government to submit to the review, saying that “Nigeria is keen to join the league of African Union member-states which will undergo the second peer review exercise.
“This is a firm demonstration of our belief in the dividends of democracy through this unique peer review system. We have learned valuable lessons and gained a wealth of experience in our journey to entrenching democracy and good governance in all manifestations since the restoration to democracy in 1999. We must stay the course and continue on this pathway to a peaceful, secure and more democratic Nigeria.”
Chairperson of the APRM National Governing Council, Senator Abba Ali, listed the benefits of the second review to include the invigoration and the institutionalisation of the APRM process in Nigeria and entrenchment of good governance, as well as an appraisal of the extent of implementation of the national programme of action in the first review and its continued relevance to consolidate the gains of democracy.
Earlier in her welcome remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, African Union Development Agency (AUDA) – NEPAD/APRM Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akobundu, had said since the adoption of NEPAD in 2001, and the establishment of the APRM as a self-monitoring tool to consolidate the gains of good governance on the continent in 2003 by African heads of state and government, the review during the Buhari administration is the second for Nigeria.