The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has condemned what he described as ethnic slurs, physical and verbal attacks during and after the just concluded elections in some states.
Tinubu, however, promised to give “priority to expanding the civic space and safeguarding citizens’ freedom to exercise their rights within the bounds of the law.”
In statement he personally signed Tuesday in Abuja, the former Lagos state governor said elections should be a celebration of maturing democracy and freedom of choice and ought not to be moments of grief.
He said: “The physical and verbal assaults committed are unacceptable and antithetical to democratic ethos.
“I am particularly pained by cases of ethnic slurs, which are capable of creating needless mis-characterisation reported in some locations.
“My appeal is for us to rise above our differences, which, in reality, are fewer than the valued strings that bind us together as a people irrespective of the circumstances of our births.
“As former governor of Lagos State, I can attest to the strength in our diversity and togetherness. As your President-elect, it is that spirit of inclusiveness we engendered in Lagos that I intend to bring into national governance so that together we can attain our full potentials.
“Indeed, the elections are over. The people have voted to elect their governors and state legislators that will serve them for the next four years. The time for leadership and governance is now upon us.
“In a democracy, majority would have their way but that majority must not suppress the minority from having their say. As democrats, we have to safeguard free expression. Winners must be magnanimous and those who did not win should have a large heart for tolerance and respect for the greater interest of the nation.”
While promising to be a worthy partner to all Nigerians, Tinubu said “the only way to justify the trust and confidence of the people and the mandate entrusted in us is to commit ourselves to the service of the people.
“We must all work diligently and sincerely to make life better for the masses. As elected officers, we have no other assignment than to be burden-bearers for the masses and ensure they have better life that we promised during the campaigns.
“We must take urgent steps to unite the people; those who voted for us and those who did not. We must champion the healing process by embracing the opponents and their supporters. As I have stated previously, the time for politicking is gone.
This is time for nation building, a task beyond one individual or a section of the society. We need every hand from wherever it may come to be on deck.
“I am ready to work with you all as your President. I will be a worthy partner you can trust and rely on as we all bond together, in unity of purpose and renewed hope for, the betterment of our blessed country and beloved people.”
Call hypocritical – Atiku
However, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has dismissed Tinubu’s call for healing as hypocrisy.
In a statement Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, Atiku said: “Tinubu’s latest statement is laced with hypocrisy and lies. For a whole month, traditional leaders, transport hooligans and politicians in his camp threatened non-indigenes but Tinubu kept mute.”
He said some people suspected to be Tinubu’s lackeys and member of his campaign team, were seen on video threatening Igbo people in Lagos.
“We commend the US and the EU governments for condemning the violence and intimidation that marred the governorship election, especially in Lagos where Tinubu’s henchmen held the state to ransom. But the US knows the identities of the perpetrators of violence and ought to have mentioned their names,” he added.
Soludo greets Tinubu
But the Anambra state Governor, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, has congratulated Tinubu on his victory, promising to partner with him in the development of his state.
In a statement Tuesday in Awka, Soludo advised Tinubu’s aggrieved opponents to approach the Court if they were dissatisfied with the outcome.
The governor said: “To me, the true heroes of the last elections are the citizens of Nigeria, especially the youths, whose voices will continue to be critical as we collectively strive to build a new Nigeria.
“Nigeria is the winner, and I am confident that a better future lies ahead of us. Congratulations to all Nigerians!
“Let me also congratulate the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his election. We congratulate your closest opponents for their courageous and impressive outing.
“Nigeria needs healing and restructuring, and the fundamental challenges of insecurity and the economy remain humongous.
” We pledge to collaborate and partner with you and the Federal Government for the development of Anambra state and Nigeria.
“One critical issue that we must draw your urgent attention is the issue of systemic insecurity in the South East.
“While our efforts with the security agencies are yielding significant results, we believe that sustainable peace and security will be enhanced through wider non-kinetic engagements with all critical stakeholders.
“In this regard, may I repeat my previous calls and hereby request our President-Elect to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu immediately after swearing-in (that is, if he is not released before then).
“We need him around the table as an important stakeholder in discussions about healing and sustainable peace in the South East.
“To our newly elected colleagues (Governors-Elect), we say a big congratulation. Let us work together, especially under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) in pursuit of national common good.
“We also congratulate the elected members of the National and State Assemblies. We also thank millions of Nigerians who voted for candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) across the entire country.
“As true believers in the potentials of Nigeria, our party will continue to network and collaborate with all like-minded Nigerians and groups to advance the greatness of this country.
“So far, winners have been declared, and those who are dissatisfied with the results have their rights to pursue their grievances through the due process of the law.
“My own political party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, might challenge several of the results in pursuit of justice.
“While we will take all necessary legal steps to recover the seats we believe that APGA won especially in Anambra state but were mistakenly called for other parties, we also know that several of the announced “winners” from other parties are “APGA-nized” and are patriotic citizens of the State”
Akeredolu on political progressivism
In a related development, Ondo state Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) said political progressivism, as espoused by the APC is taking firm root in Nigeria, and that it has come to stay.
He said this in a congratulatory message to all MARCH 22, 2023 party’s governorship candidates who got elected during last Saturday’s election.
In the statement signed by his signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, the governor said that fact that the APC won in most of the states of the federation despite the pre-election challenges it faced, was an indication that the party’s message of hope and shared prosperity resonates with most Nigerians.
He said: “I rejoice with all governors-elect on the platform of our great party, the APC. Your emergence is a tonic and energizer for the growth and development of the party. Progressivism has come to stay in Nigeria’s political space.
“Undoubtedly, your victory is the needed elixir for our great party to take firm roots in the political firmament of our nation. Since political parties thrive on popularity and relevance, you have further sustained the body and soul of our party.
“On the strength of our party’s manifestos and ideology, we shall together help deliver dividends of good governance to the Nigeria people in line with the Renewed Hope mantra of our President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“Once again, I congratulate my colleagues re-elected for a second term in office. Your performance and hard work paid off. You had blazed the trail for long and your people have rewarded you by reinvesting their mandate with you
“We must salute all those who toiled to bring to fruition this comforting feat. Our victory as a party belongs to the people who have chosen to embrace APC despite all odds.
“As we enjoy this enthralling moment, let us prepare for the task ahead. We have recorded great leaps as a party. We must be ready to drive agenda that will sustain and maintain the goodwill enjoyed by our party among the people.
“I am particularly enamoured by the track record and antecedents of most of the Governors-elect. It shows that our Bolaparty recognizes excellence. I have no doubt that you are all fresh and resourceful and committed to upholding our ideals and common cause.”
Governor Akeredolu, who thanked Nigerians for keeping faith with the APC, assured that the President-Elect, Asiwaju Tinubu, would justify the confidence reposed in the party at the polls.