The European Union, EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Michel Arrion, at the Europe Day 2015 in Abuja on Saturday stressed that democracy meant nothing to the common man except it led to the improvement in their standards of living.
The EU Ambassador spoke while urging the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that Nigerians enjoyed the democracy dividends.
He said “But 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,” he said.
Arrion maintained that as the new government comes on stream, the world will want to see a Nigeria with the basic freedoms that distinguish democratic societies.
“The government must ensure that the basic freedoms including economic rights and welfare are not the exclusive preserve of a privileged few.
The EU envoy reminded Buhari of his promises before and after his election to pursue three priority objectives.
He said the first objective set by the President-elect was “to swiftly end the insurgency in the North East and restore peace and stability.
According to him, the second is to eradicate corruption, while the third is to put policies in place to put Nigeria’s economy on a proper footing.
He said that these goals set for the incoming government match closely the European Union’s vision for the country.
“Let me add a fourth objective that is very important for the European Union: regional integration,” he said.
Arrion said the EU strongly believed that peace and stability, as well as the economic development of Nigeria were achievable.
According to him, they will be better achieved within the framework of a closer and deeper co-operation of Nigeria with its neighbours in West and Central Africa.
“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.”
He commended Nigeria and Nigerians for the success of the general elections, saying the last three months were very special for Nigerian citizens.
“We are happy that Nigeria has got it right, and look forward to other African countries following its good example,” he said.
The EU envoy commended outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for gracefully “accepting the outcome of the election so that his country can move on.”