By our correspondent
President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday received his certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with a pledge to work for both those who voted for him and those who did not in the last election.
He made the pledge when the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, presented the Certificate of Return to him at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The retired general who had contested the presidency seat in 2003, 2007 and 2011 but lost lauded the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for conceding defeat.
“At exactly 5:15 yesterday (Tuesday) evening, President Jonathan called to congratulate me on my victory.
“For this, I want all Nigerians to join me in congratulating and appreciating Mr President for his statesmanship,’’ he said.
The President-Elect described Jonathan as a worthy opponent and extended his hand of fellowship to him, saying that he looked forward to meeting him (Jonathan) soon“ as we plan the transition from one administration to another’’.
Buhari pledged that the out-going president would receive nothing but cooperation and understanding from him.
He also eulogised the Nigerian electorates for their commitment to democratic change.
“You stood in line patiently for hours; in the rain, in the sun and then in the dark to cast your votes. Even when the vote was extended to Sunday in some places, you still performed your civic duties. You did so peacefully.
“You voted with your heart. Your vote affirms that you believe Nigeria’s future can be better than what it is today. You voted for change and now change has come.
“INEC has released the official result of the Presidential Election. INEC has declared that I gained the most votes with the required spread and won this election. In a more profound way, it is you, Nigerians that have won,’’ Buhari said to the electorates.
He remarked that the people have shown their love for our nation and their belief in democracy and that he declaration of INEC accurately reflects the will of the people.
“While there might have been some logistical obstacles and irregularities associated with the exercise, the result shall stand as what the people want.
“I thank all Nigerians, who have made this day possible, our country has now joined the community of nations that have used the ballot box to physically change an incumbent president in a free and fair election.
“To me, this is indeed historic. Most people will welcome the result because it is the one they voted for. Others will literarily be disappointed. I ask that we all be circumspect, respectful and peaceful in these times.
“This was a hard-fought contest. Emotions were high. We must not allow them to get the better of us. This is not the time for confrontation. This is a moment that we must begin to heal the wounds and work toward a better future.
“We do this, first by extending a hand of friendship and conciliation across the political divide, and we hope and pray that our friends in other parties reciprocate,’’ the president-elect said.
He thanked the leadership and all the members of the All Progressives Congress, for their commitment and their hard work through the formation of the party, the campaigns and the presidential elections.
Buhari paid glowing tributes to leaders of the party, particularly former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, Bisi Akande the former chairman of the party and Alhaji Lai Muhammed, the APC’s Publicity Secretary for their commitment to precinct democracy.
“Let me equally express my appreciation to the media, civil society and security agencies for their selfless service.
“The international press and our friends abroad deserve a fair commendation for their support throughout the process. We promise a robust and dynamic engagement with your countries in matters of mutual interest.
“In the interim, I call on all Nigerians to be law abiding and peaceful. The eyes of the world were focused on us to see if we can vote in a peaceful way and carry out elections in an orderly manner,’’ Buhari said.
He pointed out that Nigerians have proven to the world that they are a people, who have embraced democracy and a people who seek a government by and for the people.
“We have put one party state behind us. We have voted for a government that will serve and govern, but will never rule over you.
“Change has come and a new day and a new Nigeria is upon us. The victory is yours and the glory is that of our nation, Nigeria,’’ the president-elect said.