President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared his re-election for a second term in office as the victory of all Nigerians and charged them to expect massive infrastructural development and economic prosperity that will take the country to his “Next Level” agenda.
Shortly after he received his certificate of return as the winner of the 2019 presidential election at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, Buhari stated that “Nigerians will move to the next level.”
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, presented the certificates of return to Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the event.
In the brief ceremony, Buhari maintained that under his renewed mandate, “Nigeria will definitely move forward.
”Earlier, Yakubu had said that Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election with 15,191,847 votes while Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 11,262,978 votes to come second.
In his speech, Buhari promised to tackle insecurity, improve the economy and fight corruption more than ever.
He said: “We will continue with the good things we have been doing and many areas stated in our manifestos will also be implemented.”
The president, who commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives in the violence that trailed the electoral process, cautioned that “election is not war and must not be a do or die affair.”
Buhari commended the doggedness of his other fellow contestants and urged them to accept defeat since their ambition was to serve Nigerians.
He also admonished his supporters and members of the APC not to deride the opposition because of their defeat. The president expressed delight over the peaceful manner Nigerians conducted themselves during the election held last Saturday across the country.
The president said: “I am grateful to God for sparing our lives to witness another milestone in Nigeria’s democratic development – namely conclusion of the presidential election in an overwhelmingly peaceful manner.
“I wish, Mr. Chairman, to congratulate all the presidential candidates and their teams for a hard-fought campaign. We may have had different views during the campaign, but the one thing most of us have in common is the love of our country and our desire to improve the conditions of living for Nigerians,” Buhari said.
According to him, “from the comments of several observers both local and foreign, it is obvious that the elections were both free and fair.
“Now that the elections are over, and a winner declared, we must all see it as a victory for Nigeria, our dear country. That was why I encouraged my teeming supporters, in a speech I read earlier today, not to gloat. Our God-given victory is enough cause for joy, without deriding those who were in the opposition. All Nigerians, going forward, must stand in brotherhood, for a bright and fulfilling future.
“I therefore want to assure that we will continue to engage all parties that have the best interest of Nigerians at heart. Our government will remain inclusive and our doors will remain open. That is the way to build the country of our dream; safe, secure, prosperous, and free of impunity and primitive accumulation by those entrusted with public offices.
“The hard work to deliver a better Nigeria continues, building on the foundations of peace, rule of law and opportunities for all. We will roll up our sleeves afresh, and give it our all. We have no other motive than to serve Nigeria with our hearts and might, and build a nation which we and generations to come can be proud of.”
“I am very grateful to the over 15 million citizens who voted for me, those who contributed in many ways in the running of our successful campaign, and those at home and abroad who expressed confidence in me and the APC government. I thank you all.
“I can assure that you will see a country moving to the ‘Next Level’, as we consolidate on our fundamental areas of securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption,” he said.
Buhari promised that many other focal areas, as stated in the party’s campaign manual, will be added to the good things he plans for the country.
While paying tributes to those who lost their lives either through accidents or mindless violence during the elections, Buhari said:
“My heart and thoughts are with the families of the victims. May God comfort and give them the fortitude to bear the loss. Election is not war, and should never be seen as a do- or-die affair. I pray that we all accept this democratic approach to elections, however contentious,” Buhari stated.
Meanwhile, African leaders have sent congratulatory messages to Buhari on his re-election. This was contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the president’s spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu.
Shehu said that King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco described Buhari’s victory as an affirmation of the level of confidence Nigerians have in him and promised to work with the president to advance the interests of both countries.
King Mohammed said: ‘‘Your re-election is a testimony to the level of confidence that you enjoy among the people of Nigeria, attributable to your wisdom, experience in politics, sense of engagement and devotion to the service and the protection of the interests of the country, especially as they relate to the prosperity, wellbeing and security of your people.”