by Onome Oraka
At the Europe Day 2015 celebration in Abuja on Saturday, the European Union urged the president-elect Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to run an inclusive government to ensure all Nigerians enjoyed the dividends of democracy.
EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Michel Arrion who spoke on behalf of the EU said that democracy meant nothing to the common man except it led to improvements in their standard of living.
Arrion said that although Nigeria was rich, the vast majority of its citizens were subjected to abject poverty and urged Buhari’s administration to ensure that Nigeria’s wealth is equitably shared amongst her citizens.
Arrion said “Democracy only makes meaning to the common man to the extent that it delivers good governance, creates opportunities and improves the quality of living. 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. The government must ensure that the basic freedoms including economic rights and welfare are not the exclusive preserve of a privileged few”.
The EU ambassador also reminded Buhari of his promises before and after his election to pursue three priority objectives.
Arrion said that in addition to the president-elect’s three priority objectives of swifly ending insurgency and restoring peace and stability in the North east, eradicating corruption, and reviving the Nigerian economy, he needed to add a fourth priority objective.
Arrion said that the fourth objective Buhari needed to add was regional integration which he reveled was very important for the EU. He said that Buhari’s three priority objective was in tune with the EU’s vision for the country.
The Ambassador affirmed that stability and economic development of Nigeria were achievable and added that co-operation with other countries in West and Central Africa would ensure better achievements.
He said “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.”
Arrion congratulated Nigeria for the peaceful conduct of its 2015 general election and commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his statesmanship.
“We are happy that Nigeria has got it right, and look forward to other African countries following its good example”, Arrion said.