The 2015 presidential polls has been described as unprecedented in the annals of Nigeria democratic journey since 1960 Nigerians from all political and ideological divides while congratulating General Muhammadu Buhari, also commended President Goodluck Jonathan for accepting defeat.
This singular act has gone a long way in dousing post –election violence and according to APC, Jonathan has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and written his name in gold and catapulted himself to a statesman.
PRESIDENT Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has made history as the first incumbent President in the political history of Nigeria since 1960 to have lost an election to an opposition party, conceded defeat and congratulated his rival in the contest.
The series of political events especially the late campaigns, character assassination, name calling and other forms of actions taken by various political parties to woo voters created more tension in the polity. Some may not have expected the President to accept defeat so easily but he did to the surprise of many especially his party members. The President rose above party politics and stood like an elder statesman with the interest of the people at heart.
The declaration of the Presidential election result between President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Major-General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) took over three days and within these days the nation was at a stand still seemingly ready to explode but the two major contenders continually embraced and preach peace.
Jonathan in several fora preached peace telling Nigerians that nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. Buhari was not left out, he too stood on the path of peace calling on his supporters to embrace peace and ensure the country is not set on fire.
The peace doctrine embarked upon by these patriotic leaders has gone a long way to send clear signals to party supporters that Nigeria is bigger than all the political parties put together likewise their candidates. The action of our leaders have swallowed any form of disruption from either the supporters of PDP or APC.
Since the declaration of the result by the returning officer of the Presidential elections and the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Attahiru Jega who declared the APC candidate Buhari winner with 15, 405,928 over PDP candidate Goodluck Jonathan with 12,663,950 encomium has continued to pour in for the parties and the electoral process.
The praises will not be complete without commending the voters, and the Nigerian people who on their own have chosen to perform their civic right and ensure their votes count and also toll the part of peace no matter the outcome of the result.
The President himself acknowledged the role played by the electorate as such thanked Nigerians for coming out enmass to cast their vote for the president of their choice and expressed his appreciation to the electorate for making the election peaceful by embracing peace and stayed away from violence that would disrupt progress of the nation.
The President elect Major-General Muhammad Buhari feels same way and expressed his appreciation to the Nigerian electorate whose full participation and commitment made history. Speaking to the nation on his victory at the polls, Buhari said the victory of the APC at the poll and his success at the election is not a victory for the party or for him as individual or as president elect but for the Nigerian electorate who came out en-mass under the fury of the sun in some areas and heavy down pour in others, over coming difficulties to cast their votes, ensure it count.
A critical look at the commendation for the electorate by the two top contenders for the post has shown that the victory is that of the entire people of Nigeria. You cannot take the victory away from the people who worked for a peaceful election and achieved same.
When you look at the buildup to the election especially the campaign period, the tension and heat in the political landscape of Nigeria was high as all the political parties came out in full to win voters to themselves.
Despite the tension here and there, the electorate after getting enough voters education on the election, sat down and watched from the side line taking notes of political scores which would decide where their votes would go.
The people through voters education embarked upon by the Nigerians media became aware of the power that the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) carries and insisted on using them it wisely to effect change if need be and they exercise their civic right.
The insurgency in the North-East did not deter the electorate in the north to cast their votes to effect change in the system. There were reports that on Election Day in Gombe the Boko Haram sect carried out deadly attack. But despite this voters came out en-masse to cast their votes. Despite the bomb in some areas they still went ahead to cast their votes. This shows the determination of the Nigerian people to have a say in how they are governed and by whom.
Aside the insurgency in the north, violence in the south-south lead to death of some Nigerians but that did not stop people from coming out to have their voice heard in the electoral process, they came out to exercise their democratic right in electing their new leader that will lead them for the next four years.
The Nigerian people were determined to make history and courageous to overcome all plans and strategy to cut short the victory of the people as such patience became the order of the day across the country and all provocations were handled with the highest care. Even the drama and show put up by the former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder “Godsday Orubebe alongside a number of chieftains including a top security aide could stop proceedings at the compilation of result at the international conference centre in Abuja.
The people overcame the threat of Boko Haram in the North East, checked political violence in the south-south and put an end to the political apathy in the south-west and south-east, came all out to perform their civic responsibility to elect their president. If the fury of the sun or the heavy down pour could not stop them mere allegation from just one man could not break through the patience of Nigerians and today the world is celebrating the victory of the election, the Nigeria electorate and Nigerian people at large cannot be separated from the victory. Nigerians are the winners in this election.
The international community and the European Union (EU) have hailed the success of the polls and the maturity of the two contenders for the position of the president as they are responsible for the peaceful atmosphere still being experienced across the land despite the pockets of violence here and there. What ever commendation that this process attracts the Nigerian people can’t be left out of it especially not allowing the prophecy of the Western world regarding the breakup of Nigeria to come to pass. The 2015 general election is a victory for all Nigerians.
MR Tony Blair, in a statement by Rianne Buter his senior media manager congratulated Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) on his victory and also hailed incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan for conceding defeat. Mr. Blair also applauded “Nigeria’s strength and resilience as a country.
He said, “I congratulate Muhammadu Buhari warmly on his election victory. I welcome wholeheartedly the statement from President Jonathan conceding the result. I also applaud the Nigerian people. It is an extraordinary sign of Nigeria’s strength and resilience as a country that there has been this election with its out come accepted so clearly despite all the challenges Nigeria faces it gives all of us who care about Nigeria great optimism and confidence in its future”.
US President, Barrack Obama has also praised President Goodluck Jonathan for conceding defeat in an election that he said showed “Nigeria’s commitment to democratic principles”.
Obama in a statement issued from the White House said “President Jonathan has placed his country’s interest first by conceding the election and congratulating President elect Muhammadu Buhari on his victory. I look forward to working with President Jonathan through out the remainder of his term and I thank him for his many years of service and his statesmanlike conduct at this critical juncture. The last few days have shown the world the strength of Nigeria’s commitment to democratic principles, Obama said.
According to Obama, by turning out in large numbers and sometimes waiting all day to cast their votes, Nigerians came together to decide the future of their country peacefully.
“I urge President elect Buhari and President Jonathan to repeat their calls to their supporters to continue to respect the election outcomes, focus on unifying the country and together lead Nigeria through a peaceful transition”.
Obama also promised Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and its chairman, which he said “deserved special recognition for what Independent International Observers have deemed a largely peaceful and orderly vote”.
DELTA State governor said that by the courageous act of conceding defeat and personally calling General Muhammadu Buhari to congratulate him, the president has exhibited an uncommon patriotism and statesmanship.
He said “for me, the hero of this election is Mr. President. If he did not do what he did, if he had not called General Buhari, the story would have been different. We congratulate the president for being a statesman for being a worthy example, for being patriotic and showing that personal interest should not override national interest”.
In particular Uduaghan said that President Jonathan congratulating message to Gen. Buhari saved the country from post election chaos.
“The president exhibited an examplary character. He waited patiently to be accredited and asked Nigerians to be patient despite the challenges of the elections and personal embarrassment to his person and office.