Following the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the winner of the last Saturday Feb 25, presidential election, and his declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as president-elect, Asiwaju Tinubu has vowed to keep his doors open to all Nigerians including his opponents and their supporters.
Recall that Tinubu in the final result announced by INEC, polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku who scored 6,984,520 to emerge second, while Obi came third with 6,101,533 votes.
Tinubu and his running mate, Vice President-Elect, Kassim Shettima, weee presented with their certificates of return by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, also on Wednesday.
In his acceptance speech which was delivered at the headquarters of his campaign on Wednesday morning, Asiwaju Tinubu extended hands of fellowship to Atiku, Obi, and others who contested the race with him, there are enough indications that the major contestants would challenge the outcome at the court.
Tinubu who said his victory is for all Nigerians, after the presentation of Certificate of Return to him and the Vice President Elect, Kashim Shettima by INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Wednesday in Abuja, said, “I know that some of you did not vote for me and I know how much you must be hurt, especially because your favourite presidential candidate is not the one standing here receiving this certificate, but I want you to know that my doors are open.
“My victory is for all Nigerians without tribal nor political party affiliations. I want to assure you most especially the youths that we’ll build a country of our dream together.”
Moreover, Tinubu promised to hit the ground running as soon as he assumes office, assuring he will “work day and night.”
In his speech titled, “To serve the people,” he said the destiny of the nation depends on the ability of Nigerians to shed the artificial restrictions of bias and prejudice “so that we live fully unto our democratic creed that no one is innately superior or entitled to greater rights and opportunities than any other Nigeria.
“Very soon, this nation shall witness a young person standing before you holding this great symbol of democracy and national leadership. We shall see a woman standing before you, holding this certificate as its owner. We shall experience someone from a tribe that many people have tried to dismiss as somehow beginning disqualified for this high office.
“For this to be a victory at all, it cannot simply be a victory for one man or even one party. It must become a victory for all Nigerians who are committed to a greater society.
“I know many did not vote for me. And you are disappointed that your candidate is not where I now stand.
“I understand you are hurt. To you, I extend the embrace and comfort of one family member to another.
“This great project called Nigeria beckons to us all. It is bigger and more important than any partisan divide.
“To my supporters, I ask you to continue to have faith in the mission that we have articulated.
“To those who didn’t support me, I ask that you not allow the disappointment of this moment to keep you from realising the historic national progress we can make by joining hands and hearts in a common endeavour to pull this nation through.
“In a phrase, I am asking you to work with me. I may be the winner of the presidential election but I need you. More importantly, Nigeria needs you. My heart and my doorsvare open to you.
“I ask you to come in so that we may begin the task of rebuilding our national home together, day by day, brick by brick.
“Where there is poverty. Let us create prosperity and jobs. Where there is hunger, let us feed the people, chasing hunger from their midst. Where there is now scarcity, let us rediscover abundance. Where there is brutality, may we replace it with brotherhood. Where violence stalks the land, may we establish peace?
“Where others have erected temples to hatred and bias, may we construct permanent monuments to compassion and abiding affection.
“History will record this day as the moment when I officially stood before you as president-elect,” he stated.
On the part of his counterparts who contested the race, reactions have been diversified, particularly on the part of the two major opposing runners; the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP).
While Atiku has declared resolve to contest the outcome announced by INEC, Obi on his part has remained silent, an indication he may be consulting on the next move.
On his part, Atiku on Tuesday told his supporters not to despair, assuring them that the battle to reclaim what he described as “our stolen” mandate was on the way.
Atiku spoke through the Director Public Affairs of PDP Presidential Campaign Committee (PCC), Senator Dino Melaye, in Abuja, on Wednesday.
In a short message to supporters he said, “A clarion call on all Atiku’s supporters all over the world not to be perturbed.
“Weeping may tarry till night but joy cometh in the morning. This grave injustice shall not stand.
“The battle to retrieve our stolen mandate is a battle of no retreat, no surrender. We shall overcome.”
However, while Obi’s supporters have demanded the suspension of INEC chairman expressing grievance over the results, Obi’s official statement is awaited as he has kept silent on the next move following the outcome of the announcement by INEC.
Obi on Wednesday said he would address Nigerians soon.
“Our Vice presidential candidate Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed is addressing an international press conference at the Labour Party Headquarters in Abuja. I intend to address Nigerians and the international community shortly,” he tweeted.
While Obi’s reaction to the announcement is waiting, his running mate, Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed, said they won election, but the serving government resorted to illegality and constitutional breach to defeat them – “Peter Obi and my humble self.”
He assured Nigerians especially party supporters that he and his principal, Obi, are prepared to pursue and retrieve their mandate through the legal system.
He appealed to Nigerians to continue to exercise their franchise because democracy belongs to those who can practise it.
Baba-Ahmed at a media briefing held at the LP Presidential Campaign Secretariat said, “We ask Nigerians to continue to exercise their civic duties. Democracy belongs to the people who can practise it. Nigeria should continue to make effort to practise it.
“The only language we understand is peace. Obi and I believe even more in Nigeria and Nigerian people.
“We won the election in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but they refused to upload the result, they refused to refer to IREeV just for them to defeat us.
“It took serving government illegality and constitutional breach to defeat Peter Obi and my humble self.
“Nigerian people are winners and Nigerian people are waiting for a day when Peter Obi and myself, through the rigours of legality and constitutionality will get to power somehow, one day.”
Recall that protests against the results collated by INEC had taken place at the collation centre in Abuja, a development that saw agents of the PDP and other parties walking out of the centre. Subsequent protests by aggrieved supporters trailed the development on Tuesday with demonstrators kicking against INEC’s resort to manual collation against uploading results on IReV portal.
You have demonstrated ability to build bridges across several divides – Osinbajo to Tinubu
On his part, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo congratulated Tinubu on his victory, saying that he has demonstrated a consistent fidelity to progressive and welfarist ideals, and an ability to build bridges across several divides.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, quoted Osinbajo as saying, “I warmly congratulate the flagbearer of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on his victory at the 2023 Presidential Elections, and his declaration as President-Elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I also congratulate His Excellency, Senator Kashim Shettima on his declaration as Vice President-Elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“In your previous years of public service, you have demonstrated a consistent fidelity to progressive and welfarist ideals, and an ability to build bridges across several divides.
“These attributes are needed especially at this time, to reach out to disaffected sections of our society and to meet the aspirational expectations of our young people who have shown such a strong desire to impact our democratic process in a positive way.
“I trust that they will not allow whatever setbacks they may have experienced to truncate their strong desire to determine the future course of our national journey.
“Through thick and thin, we must all remain focused on the objective of birthing the Nigeria of our dreams.
“I pray that Almighty God will help you to fulfil the progressive mandate of our Party, as well as your various plans to improve the security, welfare and happiness of all Nigerians,” Osinbajo who also aspired for the APC presidential ticket told Tinubu.
Amanda also said that Vice President had earlier on Wednesday while presiding over the weekly Federal Executive Council, led Federal Ministers to congratulate the former Lagos Governor, his wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the First Lady-Designate and the Vice President-Elect Senator Kashim Shettima.
The VP said, “We wish him (Asiwaju) the very best as he prepares to lead the country in the next few months.”
According to the statement, Osinbajo directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to formally convey the felicitations of the Council.
Later, the Vice President attended the formal presentation of the INEC Certificates of Return to both the President-Elect and the Vice President-Elect at the National Collation Center located at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Tinubu a good man for the job — IBB
On his part, former military president of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida congratulated Tinubu over his election as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, saying “Tinubu is a good man for the job.”
In a statement issued by his media office in Minna, Niger State, on Wednesday, IBB also commended INEC for modifying the election process which he said would lead to a new Nigeria, just as he commended Nigerians for going out en masse to exercise their voting rights.
“It is a thing of joy that this is happening in my lifetime. I can confidently say that Tinubu is a good man for the job.
“I have no doubt that Tinubu would perform as the President of Nigeria. For some of us who have been there before, I know that there is still more work to be done and I believe that Tinubu has what it takes to take Nigeria to the next level.
“We have much potential as a Nation. What we need is a good direction so that we can continue to be seen as the giant of Africa. Indeed our best is yet to come but we can get to where we ought to be with determination and commitment.”
Babangida said further that Tinubu is coming from the background of a performer who loves his people with all his heart and who knows how to put a round peg in a round hole.
While urging Nigerians to join hands with Tinubu in the business of repairing the nation, he also appealed to other candidates to see the emergence of the former Lagos Governor as the will of God saying that the work of nation-building requires that all hands must be on deck.
“This is a bright moment for Nigeria. We have to take our destiny into our hands and make things work for us as a Nation. We cannot continue to do things the same way and I believe that God will make things work for this country again because a new dawn has come for Nigeria,” IBB declared.
Other well wishers include Governors, lawmakers, among other political stakeholders.
…I am relieved – El-Rufai
On his part, Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, while congratulating Tinubu, charged him to unite all Nigerians and those he called “children of anger, disunity and religion.”
El-Rufai who gave the charge on Wednesday in Abuja at the National Collation Centre where Tinubu was presented with his Certificate of Return, also said he was finally relieved that in spite of all obstacles, the APC candidate emerged victorious.
Recall El-Rufai had early in February alleged that there were elements close to President in the Aso Rock Presidential Villa working against the party in the presidential election, a development that attracted wild reactions.
On Wednesday, the Kaduna State Governor however said, “We are so very happy that the people of Nigeria have been able to look at the track records of Tinubu, what he has achieved in Lagos, and what he has been able to do by the way of inclusion in Nigeria politics, to elect him across all the geo-political zones.
“I am relieved and I am very happy that in spite of all the obstacles placed in our path, in spite of all the internal sabotage by people who were supposed to wish us well. God has decided that it is he who gives power to whom he wants when he wants. But people who claimed to be believers did not believe it, they put obstacles in our path, they created problems for our party, and they did everything to make sure we lose but Nigerians are wiser.
“For Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be the President of all Nigerians is to bring the children of anger, the children of disunity and religion to the table and unite Nigerians for progress, peace and prosperity. And we are confident he has the capability to lead the people. So we wish him well, we pray for him, and we ask for all Nigerians to pray for him, and we thank God for this day that has decisively contributed to his capability, capacity and competence at the top of Nigeria’s political hierarchy.”
…Congratulate Tinubu or go to court — Shehu Sani tells Atiku, Obi
Meanwhile reacting to Tinubu’s victory, former Kaduna Senator, Shehu Sani has advised the presidential candidates of the PDP, Atiku and LP, Peter Obi to address their massive followers to avoid resorting to violence.
He called on all the presidential candidates and leaders of the opposition political parties to either congratulate Tinubu, or take their grievances to court.
Sani via his Twitter handle on Wednesday said, “The candidates and leaders of the opposition should address their teeming supporters. They should either congratulate the winner or take the path of seeking legal redress over the electoral infractions. Meanwhile, a call for unity and peace is of importance for our democracy and country.
“The peace and unity of the country are paramount for now, after a divisive election that was largely contested along religious and ethnic sentiments. The choice before us is to rebuild our broken bridges or erect new fences.”
Meanwhile, though grievances have been expressed on the part of opposition parties and their supporters, encomiums and well wishes have trailed Tinubu’s victory as jubilation took over some cities across the country.