The president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, has assured Nigerians that the incoming government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not fail them.
While receiving a Taraba state delegation, led by Aisha Alhassan, the APC governorship candidate, Buhari stressed that by the end of his tenure in 2019 Nigerians would be confident of a society where elections would be free, fair and credible.
Buhari’s assurance was sequel to lamentations from Senator Aisha Alhassan, who had earlier stated that she was robbed of victory at the recent gubernatorial election in the state.
Alhassan’s story took Buhari down memory lane as he encouraged the candidate by saying:
“It is a battle well fought and I am very pleased that you have taken the honourable way out. According to the Nigerian constitution, you may go to court. I was there three times and ended up in the Supreme Court.
“Sometimes, people wonder why I tried so hard. I tried so hard because it is a system I believe in. I believe that multi party democratic system is the best form of governance with a big caveat that election must be free and fair.
“Really, this is why I am in it. I was in APP, I joined partisan politics in April 2002 and on that date, at my ward, those who knew me, and have been following my career antecedent in the military, would not believe it that I will participate in partisan politics and I will not also believe it. But I found myself in it and I never turned back.
“Within one year, APP gave me the ticket. There were governors, senators and much older people than me, but all the same, I got the ticket. I lost, I was in court for 30 months. In 2007, we tried to have a limited merger and became ANPP and again, I participated and was told I lost.
“I went to court for 20 months up to the Supreme Court and I felt that my party was not fair to me. While I was in court, the leadership of the party proceeded and took two marginal ministries in late Yar’Adua’s cabinet and an Adviser. For that disgraceful behaviour by the party leadership, I left the party and we floated the CPC.
“Again, I attempted in 2011 and lost and again and I was in court for about eight months. I contested now for the fourth time under APC having successfully gone through with the merger of the three legacy parties.
“So, Aisha, don’t give up. You are younger and this is your first attempt. I contested three times and this is my fourth attempt. I hope that you succeed in court. I am impressed by the quality of Taraba people you brought here,” Buhari said.
Continuing his statement, the president-elect recollected the 2015 general elections, noting that the technology of card readers and the will of the Nigerians have redefined the electoral system in Nigerian.
“I think that 2015 will go down in Nigeria political history as a glorious year. Nigerians have deliberately understood what multiparty democracy is. But we thank God for technology, PVC and card reader and the insistence of constituencies to make sure they are used.
“However, in two political zones where they were subverted, the people wanted to vote, but they were not allowed to vote and they continued with what they used to do in their party offices or their sitting rooms, where they would write the results, go to radio house and television house and announce the result and say whoever does not accept the result should go to court.
“How many people can go to court when they are struggling to get the next day’s meal? Where will they get the millions to give to those Senior Advocates of Nigeria. I was able to do it because of the goodwill of Nigeria which again demonstrated itself this year.
“People agreed that I am not a very rich man, but I was lucky that Nigerians believe in me and they put their strength together, voted and made sure that their votes count. I say thanks to the technology. Please continue to support those among you that you feel will go and work for your state and for the country. I assure you that the government of the APC, when eventually put in place, will be a competent Nigerian government.”
Acknowledging the fact that some people even lost their lives in the process, Buhari said:
“We will never betray the people because they have risked everything. Some even lost their lives in this cause to make sure that APC succeeds and that we have a leadership in place that they trust. That is what multiparty democracy is all about."
The president-elect also took the opportunity to explain why he became a true democrat, The Nation reports.
“I will tell you what made me a multiparty democrat. In 1991, after coming out of detention, I was sitting at home and the Soviet Union collapsed. They were the world power fighting the western world. They had more sophisticated weapons, but something happened.
“There was confusion and everybody went away. Today, there are 18 countries from the former Soviet Union. That was when I believed that multi party democratic system is a superior form of governance and that is why I joined democracy.
“We have made a big stride this year and I assure you, God willing, if we survive the next four years, Nigerians will be in a position to confidently raise their head and elect their representatives and leaders.
“They will choose those they want as their representatives from local government, states and to the centre. I will fight for free, fair and credible election because that is why I remain in politics. I thank you very much for the sacrifices you have made to make sure we succeeded,” he said.
Meanwile, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the former secretary general of the Commonwealth, has told the president-elect that the expectations of Nigerians from the incoming government were high, urging him not to fail the people.
The ex-president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had earlier also stated that Nigerians passed a message to Buhari by asking for change, therefore, he must fulfil all his election promises.