The President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has called on Nigerians to forget about the pains, disappointment and agony that trailed the 2023 general election and create ample time for healing.
Tinubu’s appeal is coming at a time many aggrieved politicians and their supporters are still nursing their wounds amid reports of massive rigging, voter intimidation and violence that trailed the polls.
A number of petitions, especially from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, has also inundated the election tribunal to express dissatisfaction over the manner the polls were conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
But in a statement issued on Tuesday and titled ‘Elections are over: Healing process must begin’, Tinubu called for calm.
While congratulating all the candidates-elect from the February 25 and March 11 elections, the former governor of Lagos State also praised the commitment of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), INEC, security agencies, observers and Civil Society Organisations.
The president-elect stated that he believed that consolidating democratic governance at the sub-national level would bring about more development and improved quality of life to the masses.
He, however, expressed concern about the reported isolated infractions during the elections and its aftermath in some states.
The statement read, “I strongly condemn it. Also, the report of arson after the announcement of governorship results in one state did not represent who we truly are: peace-loving people. The physical and verbal assaults committed are unacceptable and antithetical to democratic ethos. Elections should be a celebration of our maturing democracy and freedom of choice and ought not to be moments of grief. I am particularly pained by cases of ethnic slurs, which are capable of creating needless mis-characterisation reported in some locations.
“My appeal is for us to rise above our differences, which, in reality, are fewer than the valued strings that bind us together as a people irrespective of the circumstances of our births. As former governor of Lagos State, I can attest to the strength in our diversity and togetherness. As your President-elect, it is that spirit of inclusiveness we engendered in Lagos that I intend to bring into national governance so that together we can attain our full potentials.
“I will give priority to expanding the civic space and safeguarding citizens’ freedom to exercise their rights within the bounds of the law. Indeed, the elections are over. The people have voted to elect their governors and state legislators that will serve them for the next four years. The time for leadership and governance is now upon us. We must take urgent steps to unite the people; those who voted for us and those who did not. We must champion the healing process by embracing the opponents and their supporters. As I have stated previously, the time for politicking is gone. This is time for nation building, a task beyond one individual or a section of the society. We need every hand from wherever it may come to be on deck.
“I am ready to work with you all as your President. I will be a worthy partner you can trust and rely on as we all bond together, in unity of purpose and renewed hope for, the betterment of our blessed country and beloved people.”