Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Online Reporter
OUT-GOING Nigerian president Mr Muhammadu Buhari has challenged disgruntled losing candidates in the country’s presidential election to bring forward evidence of fraud or even approach the courts instead of taking to the streets where they will put the people in harm’s way.
President Buhari retires after serving two terms as per the country’s constitution.
In his congratulatory message to the election winner president-elect, Mr Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress who polled 8 794 726 votes to land the keys to the State House, President Buhari said without fraud evidence, it can only be concluded the election outcome represented the people’s will and for any losing candidate to take to the streets will be proof enough that they are not doing it in the interest of the people but for their own selfish gains.
“I congratulate His Excellency @officialABAT on his victory. Elected by the people, he is the best person for the job. I shall now work with him and his team to ensure an orderly handover of power,” wrote President Buhari on his official Twitter account.
He said the election was Africa’s largest democratic exercise and in a region that has undergone backsliding and military coups in recent years, the election demonstrates democracy’s continued relevance and capability to deliver for the people it serves.
“Within Nigeria, the results reveal democracy’s ripening in our country. Never has the electoral map shifted so drastically in one cycle. In the presidential elections, States in all regions across Nigeria changed colour. Some amongst you may have noticed my home State among them. The winning candidate did not carry his own home State either. That happens during a competitive election. Votes and those that cast them cannot be taken for granted. Each must be earned. Competition is good for our democracy. There is no doubt the people’s decision has been rendered in the results we look at today,” he said.
Coming second in the race was Mr Atiku Abubakar of the PDP who got 6 984 520 votes while Labour Party’s Peter Obi got 6 101 533 votes.
“That is not to say the exercise was without fault. For instance, there were technical problems with the electronic transmission of the results. Of course, there will be areas that need work to bring further transparency and credibility to the voting procedure.
However, none of the issues registered represent a challenge to the freeness and fairness of the elections. I know some politicians and candidates may not agree with this view. That too is fine. If any candidate believes they can prove the fraud they claim is committed against them, then bring forward the evidence. To take to the streets means they are not doing it in the interest of the people, but rather to inflame, to put people in harm’s way and all for personal, selfish gains,” said President Buhari.