Tinubu wins, Buhari congratulates, opposition candidates silent

Ogunsakin Mustapha
5 Min Read

After a tension-soaked wait, and hard fought election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu on Wednesday morning declared presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of Saturday February 25, 2023 Presidential Election.

The declaration came at exactly 4:10a.m., on the first day of March, and four days after the conduct of the election. Prof. Yakubu announced Tinubu the President-Elect, putting a fitting finale to a lifelong ambition of the former Lagos State governor, who had summed up his presidential race with the famous Yoruba word, Emilokan. Tinubu is expected to collect his certificate of return at 3:00pm. on Wednesday afternoon.

Immediately after the announcement, the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari issued a congratulatory message, accepting the verdict of INEC, and promising to work with the Tinubu team for a smooth transition.

However, amidst the victory, none of the major contestants had come out to congratulate the President-Elect. They are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), former Governor Peter Obi of the Labour Party(LP), and former Governor Rabiu Kwakanso of New Nigeria’s Peoples Party(NNPP). This in itself symbolizes expectations of litigations challenging Tinubu’s victory.

President-elect hugs Vice President-elect

In his congratulatory message signed by his Media Aide, Shehu Garba, President Muhammadu Buhari said that Tinubu is the best man for the job.

He stated thus:

“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.

“The election was Africa’s largest democratic exercise. In 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.

“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. 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.

“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.”

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