Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari told the Governor General of Canada on Monday to go back with assurances that democracy was fast improving in Nigeria.
The Nigerian leader said institutions were being strengthened and there was a “deeper understanding of the culture and tenets among the people”.
According to a statement his spokesman Femi Adesina sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C., Mr Buhari told Julie Payette during a tete-a-tete at the Presidential Villa in Abuja that he saw the evolving strength of democracy in Nigeria by contesting for elections three times before winning at the fourth trial in 2015.
President Buhari told the Governor General that Nigeria had been learning from the mistakes of those who practiced democracy for a longer period, and by looking inward at its own peculiarities.
“I emphasize free and fair elections at all times,’’ he said.
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The President said the bilateral relations with Canada will continue to be improved considering the huge interest of the country in Nigeria and growing economic ties, with many Nigerians schooling and working in the country.
President Buhari said Canada played a brotherly role in helping displaced persons in the North East, following Boko Haram insurgency.
In her remarks, the Governor General said Nigeria and Canada enjoy a warm and strong partnership that has translated into ease of migration, large trade relations and cultural exchanges.
Rt. Hon. Payette, who is an astronaut, said it was important for nations to pool resources together to start exploring the benefits of space in providing solutions to some problems on earth.
The Governor General noted that the world would achieve more by de-emphasizing geographical differences and refocusing its energy on the commonality of humanity, pointing out that from space one can only see an earth without borders.
Rt. Hon. Payette said her visit was about showcasing “youth, innovation and technology’’, adding that Canada would like to partner with Nigeria in the ongoing diversification of the economy.
“We wish you free and credible elections in 2019,’’ she said.