With the conclusion of the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, I congratulate all the elected governors and assembly members for earning the mandate of the people. The March 18 governorship election held across 28 states and the state legislative poll across the 36 states of the federation have brought the 2023 election circle to a fitting close.
I must praise President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission, security agencies, Observer Groups, Civil Society Organisations, development partners and the electorate for the success of the elections. The election is pivotal to the growth and sustenance of democracy and democratic governance at the state level.
Consolidating democratic governance at the sub-national level will bring more development and improved quality of life to the masses. The more we entrench and consolidate the gains of our democratic venture across the length and breadth of our country, the more our people benefit in terms of dividends of democracy and good governance.
However, I’m saddened by the reported isolated infractions during the elections and its aftermath in some states. I strongly condemn it. Also, the report of arson after the announcement of governorship results in one state did not represent who we truly are: peace-loving people.
The physical and verbal assaults committed are unacceptable and antithetical to democratic ethos.
Elections should be a celebration of our maturing democracy and freedom of choice and ought not to be moments of grief. I am particularly pained by cases of ethnic slurs, which are capable of creating needless mis-characterisation reported in some locations.
My appeal is for us to rise above our differences, which, in reality, are fewer than the valued strings that bind us together as a people irrespective of the circumstances of our births.
As former governor of Lagos State, I can attest to the strength in our diversity and togetherness. As your President-elect, it is that spirit of inclusiveness we engendered in Lagos that I intend to bring into national governance so that together we can attain our full potentials.
I will give priority to expanding the civic space and safeguarding citizens’ freedom to exercise their rights within the bounds of the law.
Indeed, the elections are over. The people have voted to elect their governors and state legislators that will serve them for the next four years. The time for leadership and governance is now upon us.
In a democracy, majority would have their way but that majority must not suppress the minority from having their say. As democrats, we have to safeguard free expression. Winners must be magnanimous and those who did not win should have a large heart for tolerance and respect for the greater interest of the nation.
As the elected, the only way to justify the trust and confidence of the people and the mandate entrusted in us is to commit ourselves to the service of the people. We must all work diligently and sincerely to make life better for the masses. As elected officers, we have no other assignment than to be burden-bearers for the masses and ensure they have better life that we promised during the campaigns.
We must take urgent steps to unite the people; those who voted for us and those who did not. We must champion the healing process by embracing the opponents and their supporters. As I have stated previously, the time for politicking is gone. This is time for nation building, a task beyond one individual or a section of the society. We need every hand from wherever it may come to be on deck.
I am ready to work with you all as your President. I will be a worthy partner you can trust and rely on as we all bond together, in unity of purpose and renewed hope for, the betterment of our blessed country and beloved people.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, President-elect,
Federal Republic of Nigeria
March 21, 2023