Mr Chairman, Mr. President, Presidential candidates, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
I want to warmly thank General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the National Peace Committee for their kind invitation to the Kofi Annan Foundation to be here for this historic occasion. My thanks go as well to Switzerland a close partner of the Foundation in our efforts to promote electoral integrity around the world. But above all, I want to congratulate the candidates and parties on their reaffirmation of the peace accord.
Your commitment puts country before party.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish it were Kofi Annan standing before you today. Sadly that was not to be. He had accepted the NPC’s invitation to lend his support to the 2019 elections, as he did in 2015. He was keen to attend because he believed that Africa can succeed only if Nigeria succeeds. Kofi believed in Nigeria, a big country, full of big people with big dreams; but those dreams can only come true if there is peace. And that is why we are all here to encourage peaceful and good elections.
Kofi would have said to the candidates: be prudent – words count. He would urge you to do the right thing. For your people, for Nigeria, for Africa. And, if I may, I hope you will also do the right thing for Kofi Annan, whose wise and generous spirit inspires us today. Thank you and may the Almighty watch over Nigeria during these critical days.