By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday received certificate of return as President-elect at an occasion he used to sue for peace as election is not war.
He said at the International Conference Centre where the certificate was presented to him that “election should not be seen as do or die.”
He said: “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.
“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.
He assured the nation that he would 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.
He said that he would work hard work to deliver a better Nigeria, and continue to build 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. Many other focal areas, as stated in our campaign manual, will be added, to the good things we plan for our country.
“Let me pay tribute here to those who lost their lives either through accidents or mindless violence during the course of these elections. My heart and thoughts are with the families of the victims. May God comfort and give them the fortitude to bear the loss.’’
He explained that from the comments of several observers both local and foreign, it was obvious that the elections were both free and fair.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Returning Officer of the election, presented the Certificate of Return to President Buhari, winner of the Feb. 23 Presidential election.
Yakubu first invited the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who in turn invited the President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to sign and collect the Certificate of Return.
INEC had earlier today (Wednesday) declared President Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the 2019 presidential election.
Speaking at the event, the president assured Nigerians that they would soon see “a country moving to the `Next Level’ as the APC-led administration consolidates on its achievements”.
President Buhari also pledged to continue to engage all parties as his administration would be operating an open government for the general progress of the country.
He, however, vowed to continue the fight against corruption, saying accumulation of public wealth would not be tolerated.
The president, who thanked God for the electoral victory, also reiterated his call on all APC supporters not to gloat or humiliate the opposition, saying “victory is enough reward for your efforts”.
Personalities at the event included APC State Governors, Cabinet Ministers, Security Chiefs, Heads of Para-Military agencies, Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi.
Others were the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufa’I, presidential aides and political appointees as well as the chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.
The National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and family members of both the President and the Vice-President also witnessed the event.(NAN)