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Elections: Go to courts, not the streets, Buhari tells losers

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the winner of the 2023 Presidential Election and the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed…

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the winner of the 2023 Presidential Election and the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The President, in a statement issued Wednesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said this election demonstrated democracy’s continued relevance and capability to deliver for the people it served.

He said the people’s decision had been rendered in the results announced as the candidate and himself lost their states to the opposition.

Buhari said though there were technical problems with electronic transmission of the results, none of the issues registered represented a challenge to the freeness and fairness of the elections.

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The President, however, said candidates that could prove the fraud they claimed was committed against them should present the evidence in courts and not on the streets.

He said: “If they cannot, then we must conclude that the election was indeed the people’s will – no matter how hard that may be for the losers to accept.”

He said any resort to protests meant that they were “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.”

President Buhari said: “I congratulate His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu 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.

“The election was Africa’s largest democratic exercise. In a region that has undergone backsliding and military coups in recent years, this 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 the nation changed colour. Some amongst you may have noticed my home state amongst 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.

“That is not to say the exercise was without fault. For instance, there were technical problems with 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. If they cannot, then we must conclude that the election was indeed the people’s will – no matter how hard that may be for the losers to accept. If they feel the need to challenge, please take it to the courts, not to the streets.

“However, to do the latter 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.

“After a degree of polarization that necessarily accompanies any election, it is now time to come together and act responsibly. I call on all candidates to remember the peace pledge they signed just days before the election. Do not undermine the credibility of INEC. Let us now move forward as one. The people have spoken.”

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