Amaechi: We will be magnanimous in victory • Fayose urges Nigerians to accept result, imposes curfew
Chuks Okocha, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
The ululation of victory and celebration is already reverberating across the land following the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the March 28 presidential polls.
Congratulatory messages have been pouring in from all quarters.
Congratulating the president –elect, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, stated that, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, yesterday
“Let me formally congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress for this well-deserved victory.”
In a statement he personally signed, IBB said: “This victory to me conveys two significant statements on our political history and evolution. First, that incumbents can be defeated in any democratic process if the people’s aspirations are not fulfilled.
“Second, that there is good reward for perseverance and hard work. General Buhari has been very consistent in pursuing his political aspiration. In fact, he reminds me of President Abraham Lincoln of the American fame, who was very dogged in pursuing his political aspiration and enriched the contents of democracy in America. General Buhari lives true to his military calling by remaining very consistent, resilient and courageous right from 2003 till date.
“This enviable feat to me further enriches our democratic process and matures us into the top echelon of nations where democracy has taken firm root. That President Jonathan has indeed conceded defeat and congratulated the President-elect is also cheering news.
“Let me also congratulate other presidential candidates of the other political parties, especially Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for putting up a good fight in the elections. I wish to also commend the Independent National Electoral Commission, for conducting such a free, fair and transparent election despite all the initial hitches and challenges.
“With this election and its outcome thus far, Nigeria has once again recorded another milestone in her march through the enviable ladder of democracy. Our leadership role in Africa will further be enhanced by the way and manner we manage the gains of this process. But I trust that the President-elect will live up to the expectations of many Nigerians that crave for change; and lift Nigeria to greater heights.
On his part, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar also commended both the President-elect, Buhari, and President Goodluck Jonathan for being part of the historic election.
Atiku in a statement issued last night, hailed Buhari for being elected the next president of Nigeria.
“You have led our party, the All Progressives Congress to an unprecedented victory within two years of its official formation, and in so doing, written the most important chapter of our democracy.
“The great Nnamdi Azikiwe once wrote that ‘history will continue to vindicate the just.’ Your victory in the polls, with votes from across the length and breadth of our country, bears witness to the acceptance of not just our party, the APC, but also your ideology of justice, fair play and zero tolerance for corruption as the bedrock for national rebirth.
“At this historic moment, it is most important to say a hearty thank you to every Nigerian who voted for the APC. Your votes have not just elected the first opposition party into federal power, but has also set a precedent which will have positive implications for democracy across Africa.
“Dear Buhari, the journey has just begun. Millions of Nigerians have put their trust in you, because they were not satisfied with the status quo. You represent the hope of a new generation of Nigerians, and you cannot afford to fail them. Our party has made a promise of change to our young people, to secure and rebuild our country, create jobs and opportunity, and improve citizens’ welfare. We will stand behind you to ensure we keep those promises, just like we did during these elections,” he said.
Atiku said the country needs a new direction, adding that Buhari should see his office as an opportunity to unite and rally them for development.
“We have voted for you, and our party won the election, but when you assume our highest office, you must become the president of not just the APC, but all of Nigeria, including the people who did not vote for you. We look up to you to heal the fractures of our country, and truly unite this country like never before.
“To President Jonathan, I want to specially thank you for conducting a historic election. Your party may have lost the elections, but you have won the admiration of the world by not interfering with the wishes of Nigerians. History will be kind to you.
“It is my sincere hope that we will all come together as one country, to build the Nigeria of our dreams,” he said.
Beyond the eulogy of President Jonathan, the National Leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has described Buhari’s victory as Nigeria’s finest moment in its political history.
“It is a moment when hope is re-born, faith is rekindled and a fresh fire of patriotism is released for the task ahead. I congratulate General Buhari, Nigeria’s President-elect on his hard won victory. I salute our gallant party leaders and members for running the long distance to victory. To millions of Nigerians I say this- the APC seeks not power for its sake, but for the purpose of bringing a better life to our people and re-building our country.
This is also democracy’ s finest moment. Nigerians alive today have witnessed the beginning of an era of change . They made this happen and they are the true celebrants and they are deserving. Together we share this victory. Side by side we would work together to bring our country back,” he said.
In the same vein, one of the leaders of APC and a former governor of old Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said: “I am very happy that Nigerians have given us the opportunity to address the problems of the nation. I am confident that APC will show that many of these problems of the country can be solved. We thank Nigerians because it is very important that the party tries to live up to the expectations of Nigerians”.
From Ekiti State also came a congratulatory message from its governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, one of the most virulent critics of the Buhari candidacy.
In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said the election results should not been seen as victory or loss for any political party, adding that: “To me, Nigerians and democracy won.”
Fayose commended the resilience of President Jonathan and Gen. Buhari for their patriotism, urging them to work together to move the nation forward in all spheres.
The governor said the results of the election must be taken in good faith, adding: “The election result is the will of God and Nigerians , and all lovers of peace, progress and development of Nigeria must accept it.”
He praised Nigerians for believing in the democratic process, adding that: “By this election, Nigerians have shown that democracy has come to stay in the country.
“I salute President Jonathan for laying the most solid foundation for democracy in Nigeria. And I salute Major General Buhari for being a resilient and dogged fighter.
“I urge Nigerians, irrespective of their ethnic, religious and political affiliations to respect the outcome of the election in the interest of peace, progress and development of the country.”
In a state-wide broadcast, he imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on all parts of the state, to prevent violence after the declaration of the results of the presidential poll.
He said the 12-hour curfew, which began yesterday, would last between 7.30 pm and 6.00am, being part of the efforts to ward off any form of crisis in the state.
The governor, however, did not mention how many days the restriction would last, but emphasised the need for people to exercise restraint for Ekiti to be in peace.
Meanwhile, the APC has rolled out the drums to celebrate its victory starting with a reception for Buhari at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja last night.
As soon as it became obvious that Buhari was coasting home to victory with the majority of the results from states already announced, the leadership of APC started making arrangements to formally receive Buhari and the Vice-President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
As early as 8.00 am yesterday, many of the party faithful started milling around the party’s secretariat waiting for the final result to be announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The party secretariat was beautifully decorated with newly procured Nigerian flags and APC flags and with a red carpet laid out in wait for the triumphal entry of Buhari.
The atmosphere was charged as the secretariat staff and supporters of the party who besieged the place kept singing and drumming. Even as at 7pm, the supporters kept pouring into the secretariat, men, women all dressed in various attires depicting the APC party colours and symbol.
Party leaders, men and women, were hugging one another in excitement not even the religious restrictions could stop the elaborate warm embrace that were exchanged between men and women during the celebration.
Among the leaders of the party who came early to congratulate the president-elect were Governor of Nasarawa State Tanko Al Makura, Governor of Ogun State Ibikunle Amosun and Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha.
In anticipation of victory of its presidential candidate, the APC had begun the decoration and beautification of the national campaign headquarters in Abuja.
The two-storey building, luxury office where all the campaign plans and activities were plotted suddenly started wearing a new look yesterday with the walls beautifully adorned with colourful ribbons.
THISDAY also gathered that the party leadership has commenced the procurement of customized T-shirts with various inscriptions in praise of the opposition party and its leaders, all in anticipation of the declaration of its presidential candidate, Buhari, as winner of the poll.
According to the spokesman of the APC presidential campaign, Mallam Garba Shehu, the decoration of the campaign office was to reflect the joyous, celebration mood of Nigerians.
“Yes, as you can see our campaign office has been decorated in line with the celebration of the victory of APC at the polls,” he said.
But away from the celebratory mood, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State who also served as the Director General of the APC Campaign organisation, has reaffirmed the campaign promises of the APC, adding that the party will be magnanimous in victory.
Amaechi, who said this at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, noted that the government of Muhammadu Buhari would be all-inclusive.
Amaechi, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), noted that, “After the announcement, it will become clearer to the nation that APC has won the election and we will be magnanimous in victory.
“We cherish this victory so much but it is not only about celebration, it is about the seriousness of governance and you must see the difference between us the current government.
“If we say there is incompetence, we must show competence; If we say there was corruption, we must show that we will not be corrupt.
“If we say that people were denied their basic rights, we must protect the rights of people.
“If we say there was impunity, we must govern by the rule of law and once we show that, you will see the basic difference between us and the current government,” Amaechi said.
He noted that the victory of the party at the presidential election was historic as it was the first time in the history of the country’s democracy that an incumbent federal government would be defeated.
“The victory is historical to me. I will be proud to tell my children that for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the opposition party was able to rout the government and party in power.
“We were able to present a different picture of what life looks like which is giving the people the courage to confront the current government on corruption and confront the fact that people were hungry.
“This is because they don’t go to the same market as other Nigerians go.
“They have the kind of funds they want and they eat the kind of food they want to eat but Nigerians were dying of hunger.
“We want to let Nigerians know that Boko Haram was not about religion alone, there was element of poverty and ignorance,” he added.
Amaechi also said that the incoming government would have to deal with the falling standard of education and unemployment in the north and south.
He added that the Buhari administration would make Nigerians to understand that religion was never an issue in Nigeria.