President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for winning the presidential election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday, February 25.
In his congratulatory message to Tinubu on Wednesday, March 1, President Buhari described the former Lagos governor as the best person for the job with whom he promises to work "to ensure an orderly handover of power.”
The president noted that despite Africa's recent history of military coups this election demonstrates democracy’s continued relevance and capability to deliver for the people it serves.
I, Tinubu lost home states in 2023 election - Buhari
As to the uniqueness of the election, Buhari noted that it was indeed stiffly contested and that the fact that even he and Tinubu lost their states proves that it was credible and fair, but added that it was not without fault.
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Part of Buhari's statement read:
"Within Nigeria, the results reveal democracy’s ripening in our country. Never has the electoral map shifted so drastically in one cycle. In the presidential elections, states in all regions across the nation changeaggrievedd colour. Some amongst you may have noticed my home state amongst them. The winning candidate did not carry his own home state either.
"That happens during a competitive election. Votes and those that cast them cannot be taken for granted. Each must be earned. Competition is good for our democracy. There is no doubt the people’s decision has been rendered in the results we look at today.
“That is not to say the exercise was without fault. For instance, there were technical problems with electronic transmission of the results. Of course, there will be areas that need work to bring further transparency and credibility to the voting procedure. However, none of the issues registered represent a challenge to the freeness and fairness of the elections.
Aggrieved parties can go to court with evidence - Buhari
The president also called on persons and parties aggrieved over the results and conduct of the poll to go to court with evidence but added that no one should undermine the credibility of the electoral commission.
“I know some politicians and candidates may not agree with this view. That too is fine. If any candidate believes they can prove the fraud they claim is committed against them, then bring forward the evidence. If they cannot, then we must conclude that the election was indeed the people’s will – no matter how hard that may be for the losers to accept. If they feel the need to challenge, please take it to the courts, not to the streets.
“However, to do the latter means they are not doing it in the interest of the people, but rather to inflame, to put people in harm’s way and all for personal, selfish gains.
“After a degree of polarization that necessarily accompanies any election, it is now time to come together and act responsibly. I call on all candidates to remember the peace pledge they signed just days before the election. Do not undermine the credibility of INEC. Let us now move forward as one. The people have spoken.”