*Promises to wedge greater war on corruption, and better security
*Atiku rejects poll results, heads to court
*Claims his votes were suppressed
By Ezeocha Nzeh (Group Politics Editor), Chesa Chesa and Myke Uzendu, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday promised to enthrone better unity of Nigerians and inclusiveness in his second term, so that no part of the country is denied attention.
He made the pledge at the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign headquarters in Abuja early Wednesday shortly after he was declared winner of the 2019 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Buhari polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat 70 other presidential candidates including former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, the flagbearer of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who secured 11,262,978 votes to finish as runner-up.
While thanking his supporters, Buhari urged them not to gloat over the victory or try to humiliate the losers.
He regretted the violence and deaths that occurred during the election in some parts of the country, and promised that security agencies will do all they can to avert a recurrence in the forthcoming Gubernatorial and State Assembly polls.
He also thanked local and international observers and further pledged to intensify his administration’s policies on anti-corruption, restructuring the economy and ensuring better security in the country.
Buhari stated: “My Dear Nigerians, first and foremost, I give thanks to Almighty God Who has spared our lives to witness another victory for Nigerian democracy and victory for our party APC.
“I thank the millions of Nigerians who voted to re-elect me as your president for the next four years. I am deeply humbled and profoundly grateful to you for judging me worthy of continuing to serve you and for your peaceful conduct.
“In particular, I would like to thank Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for his masterful leadership as Co-chair of the Campaign Council. I would like to also thank the Party Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, the Director General of the Campaign Council Rotimi Amaechi, all members of the Presidential Campaign Council and other various Support Groups.
“My grateful thanks to all those who contributed to the logistical expenses of the campaign in such a vast country like Nigeria.
“I also thank the millions of volunteers, self-appointed overseers, canvassers, agents, escorts and sentries who sacrificed so much of their time and resources to ensure the success of these elections. I do not have the words adequate to thank them.
“Although Saturday’s elections were relatively peaceful, troublemakers in a handful of states attempted to disrupt an otherwise orderly process. Security agencies will bring to justice all those arrested in the process.
“I am very sad at the grievous loss of lives during these elections. Security agencies will step up their efforts to protect voters in the forthcoming State elections.
“I would like to commend our security agencies, as severely overstretched as they are, for handling the difficult task of securing the country during the election period.
“I will like to make a special appeal to my supporters not to gloat or humiliate the opposition. Victory is enough reward for your efforts.
“We give thanks also to our Domestic and International observers for contributing to the success of our elections and for their interest in our country and our developing democracy.
“The new Administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption. We have laid down the foundation and we are committed to seeing matters to the end.
“We will strive to strengthen our unity and inclusiveness so that no section or group will feel left behind or left out,” he said.
*Atiku rejects election results, heads to court
Meanwhile, the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has rejected the outcome of the election, insisting he would approach the courts to reclaim his mandate.
Speaking in Abuja, Atiku regretted what he described as “clear indication of premeditated malpractices and electoral fraud in many states”, insisting they negate the results announced by the electoral umpire.
Dismissing the results as a sham, the former Vice-President claimed that INEC “suppressed votes in my strongholds”, and described such as “amateurish and unacceptable”.
He queried what he described as statistical impossibility of states ravaged by the war on terror generating much higher voter turnouts than peaceful states, as well as what he described as suppressed votes in areas where he has political advantage.
Atiku said that dissatisfied with the results, he has resolved “to seek justice through the rule of law”, adding that as a democrat he would “present the truth to the nation and the watching world”.
According to him, “many international observers have given their verdicts, which corroborate our observations. I am sure more will come in the coming hours and days.
“If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South.
“However, in my democratic struggles for the past three decades, I have never seen our democracy so debased as it was on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
“2007 was a challenge, but President Yar’Adua was remorseful. In 2019, it is sad to see those who trampled on democracy thumping their noses down on the Nigerian people.
“Consequently, I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court”.
Atiku who had lost Presidential election twice in the past, stressed that the just concluded presidential election was militarized with complaints of result falsifications.
“One obvious red flag is the statistical impossibility of states ravaged by the war on terror generating much higher voter turnouts than peaceful states.
“The suppressed votes in my strongholds are so apparent and amateurish, that I am ashamed as a Nigerian that such could be allowed to happen.
“How can total votes in Akwa-Ibom, for instance, be 50% less than what they were in 2015?” he querried.
“Another glaring anomaly is the disruption of voting in strongholds of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and diverse other states, with the authorities doing little or nothing and insome cases facilitating these unfortunate situations.
“In some areas of the country, such as, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Imo states, troops deployed for the elections turned their guns on the very citizens they were meant to protect.
“This is condemnable and should not be associated with our electoral process in the future,” he said.