PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday that election is neither war nor a do-or-die affair and promised to run an inclusive government in his second term which begins on May 29 this year.
The President, who stated this shortly after receiving his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, spoke against the backdrop of rejection of results of the presidential election by the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who also vowed to go to court to challenge the results.
“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,” he said.
The President said now that the elections were over, and a winner had emerged, the victory is that of Nigeria.
He said: “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.”
President Buhari said his government would remain inclusive and that all doors will remain open, adding that it “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.”
Congratulating all the presidential candidates and their teams on a hard-fought campaign, he said: “We may have had different views during the campaign, but the one thing most of us have in common is love of our country and our desire to improve conditions for Nigerians.
“From the comments of several observers, both local and foreign, it is obvious that the elections were both free and fair.”
The President said he would continue to build on the foundations of peace, rule of law and opportunities for all in efforts to deliver a better Nigeria.
“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,” he said.
President Buhari thanked the over 15 million citizens who voted for him as well as those who contributed to the running of his successful campaign.
“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,” he said.
The President also paid tribute to those who lost their lives either through accidents or mindless violence during the course of the 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 said.
Earlier in his acceptance speech, President Buhari said security agencies in the country will bring to justice those who allegedly perpetuated violence during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
President Buhari advised his party members not to taunt the opposition parties in their celebration, saying that victory was enough reward.