Senator Kola Balogun has described 2023 as a year that calls for deep reflections on the past as the country prepares for another general election.
The senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District stated this in his message felicitating with Nigerians on the New Year celebrations.
He joined millions of other Nigerians at home and abroad to welcome the New Year, and prayed that it shall be a year of advancement for the country in all ramifications.
Senator Balogun said the year 2023, unlike the past three years, is very unique as the people will be witnessing a change of baton at the federal level and in most of the states across the country.
“My wife, Mrs Gbonjubola Kola-Balogun, and I wish to congratulate Nigerians for being alive to witness, yet, the beginning of another new year.
“Yes, in spite of the turbulence of the past year, we thank God that we alive to celebrate. It is not by our making that we are alive to witness another new year.
“Many have gone in the last one year. Some were older and some were younger than us. Several others were our age mates.
“We are no lesser sinners than those who have gone. It is by the sheer grace of God that we are still alive to be counted among the living. It is for this reason that we must be grateful to God Almighty,” he stated.
Senator Balogun however urged Nigerians to look beyond the New Year celebrations and focus on how democracy can be further deepened in the country through elections.
“However, as we celebrate the coming of the New Year, 2023, we must sit back and take a deep reflection on ourselves, both as individuals and as a country.
“We should reflect on where we are coming from and where we are going in the New Year, 2023 being a very decisive year in our electoral process.
“We are going to the polls in another one month, February, to choose of our new crops of leaders at the national level, both at the Presidency and at the National Assembly.
“We shall also be witnessing election in March at the state level where there will be a change of batons in most of the states and at the state Houses of Assembly.
“We, as a people, must take a deep reflection and vote wisely in electing a new leadership, consisting of a few people that will take charge of the affairs of over 200 million other Nigerians.
“I will urge us all, especially registered voters and the political class, not to mortgage the future of this country and generations yet unborn. I plead with us to shun all forms of violence and voting buying in the 2023 elections.
“We have several challenges facing us as a people and as a country. These include economic downturn, which is not peculiar to Nigeria and so also the issue of insecurity.
“History beckons on us as the whole world is watching intently as we progress in managing our domestic affairs, most importantly, the conduct of the 2023 elections.
“We can decide to move forward by deliberately taking positive steps towards the advancement of our democratic experiment by voting for credible leaders who can help to move the country forward.
“The Federal Government is helping to promote the culture of establishing and entrenching credible, free and fair elections through the Electoral Act, 2022.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not leaving any stone unturned in complementing the efforts of the government, especially with the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS).
“Both the Electoral Act, 2022 and the BIVAS are part of some other measures to ensure that elections, which are credible and acceptable, are conducted.
“The onus lies on both the political elite and the electorate to ensure the conduct of successful, free and fair, acceptable and credible elections in February and March.
“This we can do by shunning thuggery, violence, voting buying and financial inducement before and during the elections. I plead with you to vote according to the dictates of your conscience,” Senator Balogun stated.