Nigeria’s president-elect defends his victory in »fair and credible» elections

Nigeria’s President-elect Bola Tinubu celebrates his victory in the presidential election. – EMMA OSODI / XINHUA NEWS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu, has defended that he won a »fair and credible» election and stressed that »this is no time for acrimony and recrimination», amid complaints from several opposition candidates about irregularities in the elections, for which they have filed appeals seeking a rerun.

»The honor of victory and the enormous responsibility it entails have fallen on me,» said Tinubu, who said that »naturally, there are people disappointed that their candidate did not win, while other candidates have shown discomfort and have said they will go to court».

The opposition candidates Atiku Abubakar, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi, of the Labor Party, announced that they will appeal the results in court arguing that there have been irregularities and have assured that they have won in the polls.

Thus, Tinubu has emphasized that »this is something inherent to the democratic process» and has defended the right to resort to the justice system, while he has shown his commitment to »work for the benefit of all the population, whether they have voted or not» for his candidacy, according to the Nigerian newspaper »The Premium Times».

Tinubu has also indicated that »acrimony and partisan recrimination» are »negative things that can generate strong passions but are not the way to a better nation». »Only unity and national commitment can serve that purpose,» he argued.

»I am not asking for the abandonment of political preferences, which would be undemocratic. I ask to answer the call of patriotic duty as a loyal opposition. Remain loyal to the cause of a greater, more tolerant and just Nigeria,» he said.

In this regard, he noted that »the emergence of new parties and their candidates underscores the dynamics of the strength of democracy» and warned against »the new growth of old prejudices and intolerance around ethnicity, creed and place of origin».

»There were times in our past when institutions generated more questions than answers, but the arc of our political history gives me confidence that we can overcome the past. We have overcome the thick of the night to emerge into the light of the bright days ahead,» he said.

For this reason, Tinubu has bet on »starting to repair and rebuild the national house» and has assured that he seeks »a government of national competence», for which »he will not take into account considerations apart from capabilities and performance».

»I will unite competent men, women and youths from across Nigeria to generate a safer, more prosperous and fairer country. There must be young people. Women must have a predominant role. Whether your faith leads you to pray in a church or a mosque will not determine your place in government,» he said.

The president-elect also put among his top priorities »ensuring the security of the nation and making it prosperous», before indicating that »bridges and roads are built not only for trade and travel, but to connect people of different faiths, with different opinions, for a harmonious dialogue».

»Dear Nigerians, this is our country. This is our moment. Let us not waste it. Let us not go back to accepting lesser versions of ourselves and our collective destiny. We cannot be satisfied with calling ourselves the giant of Africa. We must dedicate ourselves to doing those great and historic things that only a giant can do,» he reiterated.

Tinubu will replace Muhammadu Buhari, who could not run because he has reached the term limit set by the Nigerian Constitution. The elections also mark the first time since the country’s return to civilian rule in 1999 that none of the candidates is a former military leader, as was the case with Buhari, who was already in charge of the country between December 1983 and August 1985 after a coup d’état.