“I wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on his re-election to lead Nigeria in the next four years. I have observed that, the electioneering campaign was very strenuous and the contest very keen. That despite the turbulent terrain of politics, the President submitted and subjected himself to this process. Indeed is a clear testimony that he believes in the democratic process and ideals.”
These were the words of the former Nigeria military President, retired General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), in a statement he issued to congratulate President Muammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Saturday, February 23 Presidential election in the country.
In the statement he personally signed, Babangida said that he was particularly impressed with the gallant and audacious spirit of the main challenger in the presidential race, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
“I was not surprised that even though he lost the most exotic position of the land, his doggedness and pattern of support cut across ethnic, religious and regional lines that earned him the second position of the last Presidential election.
“I call on the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to close ranks and work with the winner of the election in an objective and constructive manner so that democracy will continue to thrive in our country at this crucial period of renaissance.
“I urged him also to endeavour and prevail on his admirers to eschew bitterness and violence. They must be prevailed upon to understand that politics is a game in which there must be only one winner.”
The former military strongman also appealed to the newly elected president, Buhari, to try and heal the wounds of the heated campaign exchanges by embracing those who contested alongside with him.
He said that Buhari must resist the temptation to see them as enemies; not even opponents, but fellow compatriots who merely disagreed with him on how best to move the country forward.
“Now that the President has won his re-election bid, he should confront with renewed vigour the most urgent problem confronting Nigeria: ‘insecurity of lives and property.’
“The Boko Haram insurgency remains a threat to many Nigerians particularly in the North East sub region, while the twin evils of kidnapping and armed robbery/armed banditry remain a major national menace. The president must pay priority attention to these security issues.
“The economy of the country must also occupy the president’s urgent attention. There is the need to be more creative in formulating policies that will improve the nation’s economy, create employment opportunities and give hope to our teaming youths.
“The President may wish to heed to the yearnings of reasonable Nigerians for restructuring and seek all constitutional means to devolve some powers presently exercised by the Federal Government to the other tiers of governments.”