Elections are over and the healing process must begin, President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu said yesterday.
He urged Nigerians, particularly the political class, to rise above their differences and team up with him to strengthen the “valued strings” that bind Nigeria together, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds.
Noting that the tasks of governance in the post-election period are arduous and challenging, Tinubu said “the time for leadership and governance is now upon us.”
The President-elect emphasised the need to take urgent steps to unite Nigerians who voted for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and supporters of other platforms, stressing that “we all must embrace the healing process.”
Tinubu was elected president on the APC platform on February 25.
He defeated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi, in a historic poll that has been adjudged credible by foreign observers.
The President-elect, in a statement titled: “Elections are over: healing must begin,” noted reported infractions associated with the exercise in some states.
He said a proper expression should be given to democracy by winners who must be magnanimous in victory.
Those who did not win, he urged, should have a large heart for tolerance and respect for the national interest.
Tinubu said he was “pained” by cases of ethnic slurs reported in some locations, adding that the “physical and verbal assaults committed are unacceptable and antithetical to democratic ethos”.
Stressing that politics should now give way for governance, Tinubu said: “The time for politicking is gone. This is time for nation building, a task beyond one individual or a section of society.
“We need every hand from wherever it may come to be on deck.”
He added: “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 the unity of purpose and renewed hope for, the betterment of our blessed country and beloved people.”
The President-elect congratulated the newly elected governors across the 28 states and House of Assembly members in 36 states.
He applauded President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission, security agencies, observer groups, Civil Society Organisations, development partners and the electorate for the success of the elections, which, he said, were pivotal to the growth and sustenance of democracy and democratic governance at the state level.
In his view, consolidating democratic governance at the sub-national level will bring more development and improved quality of life to the masses.
He added: “The more we entrench and consolidate the gains of our democratic venture across the length and breadth of our country, the more our people benefit in terms of dividends of democracy and good governance.”
However, Tinubu condemned the isolated infractions during the elections and its aftermath in some states.
He pointed out that the report of arson after the announcement of governorship results in one state did not represent the true picture of Nigerians as peace-loving people.
Frowning at the infractions, he said the physical and verbal assaults were unacceptable and antithetical to democratic ethos.
Tinubu stressed: “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 mischaracterisation reported in some locations.”
The president-elect appealed to Nigerians to rise above their differences, which, in reality, are fewer than the valued strings that bind them together as a people, “irrespective of the circumstances of our births.”
Tinubu, who attested to the strength of the country’s diversity and togetherness as former Lagos State governor, promised to bring into national governance that spirit of inclusiveness so that Nigeria can attain its full potential.
He promised to expand the civic space and safeguard citizens’ freedom to exercise their rights within the bounds of the law.
Tinubu said: “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.
“In a democracy, the majority would have their way but that majority must not suppress the minority from having their say. As democrats, we have to safeguard free expression.
“Winners must be magnanimous and those who did not win should have a large heart for tolerance and respect for the greater interest of the nation.”
He added: “As the elected, the only way to justify the trust and confidence of the people and the mandate entrusted in us is to commit ourselves to the service of the people. We must all work diligently and sincerely to make life better for the masses.
“As elected officers, we have no other assignment than to be burden-bearers for the masses and ensure they have the better life that we promised during the campaigns.
“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.”