President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC for winning the 2023 Presidential Election.
The outgoing President Buhari spoke through a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu on Wednesday morning.
According to Buhari, “I congratulate His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his victory. Elected by the people, he is the best person for the job. I shall now work with him and his team to ensure an orderly handover of power”.
Buhari said for a region that has undergone backsliding and military coups in recent years, this election demonstrates democracy’s continued relevance and capability to deliver for the people it serves.
He said, “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 changed 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”.
Buhari went further to state that competition was good for democracy, adding that “there is no doubt the people’s decision has been rendered in the results we look at today.”
He admitted that that was not to say the exercise was without fault.
In his words, “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.”
He said none of the issues registered represent a challenge to the freeness and fairness of the elections.
“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,” he tasked the losers.
Buhari therefore warned that to go contrary to this path 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.
He also advised all contenders in the just concluded elections saying 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,” he said.
Recall that Buhari had on Saturday, in Daura, while voting displayed his ballot papers publicly for all to see who he voted in favour of.
Few minutes later, his actions had generated widespread controversies within the polity, as many Nigerians were divided on whether he violated the electoral act or not.
Garba Shehu would later in a statement absorb his principal of such violations, saying Buhari merely displayed his ballot paper as a rare mark of loyalty to his party and his preferred candidate.
Tinubu later lost Katsina state to the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.