• President-elect renews pledge to tackle corruption
AT exactly 2.35pm on Tuesday, the Presidentelect, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), was formally presented with his certificate of return by the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega.
General Buhari was accompanied to the podium by the Vice- President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; and the incoming First Lady, Aishat.
The presentation ceremony, which took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, was witnessed by several dignitaries, among whom were the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Governors elected on the platform of the party, as well as former Governors and former Ministers.
In his speech, entitled: “The Die Is Cast”, Buhari stated clearly that outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan has nothing to fear from the incoming administration, notwithstanding the fact that both of them might not agree on the methods for governing the nation.
He noted with sadness that Nigeria has suffered, greatly, in the recent past with its staying power tested to the limits by crises, chief among which is insurgency from the Boko Haram. He pointed out that there was no doubt that in tackling the crisis; his administration would have a tough and urgent job to do.
The President-elect assured however that Boko Haram “will soon know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror, and bring back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas”. “We shall spare no effort until we defeat terrorism,” he added. Buhari equally vowed to strongly battle another form of evil that is even worse than terrorism – corruption.
His words: “Corruption attacks and seeks to destroy our national institutions and character. By misdirecting into selfish hands funds intended for the public purpose, corruption distorts the economy and worsens income inequality. It creates a class of unjustly-enriched people. “Such an illegal yet powerful force soon comes to undermine democracy because its conspirators have amassed so much money that they believe they can buy government.
“We shall end this threat to our economic development and democratic survival. I repeat that corruption will not be tolerated by this administration and it shall no longer be allowed to stand as if it is a respected monument in this nation.” Continuing, Buhari said: “I pledge myself and our in-coming administration to just and principled governance. There shall be no bias against or favouritism for any Nigerian based on ethnicity, religion, region, gender or social status.
“Let me state clearly that President Jonathan has nothing to fear from me. Although we may not agree on the methods of governing the nation, he is a great Nigerian and still our president. “He deserves our support and permanent respect by virtue of the office he has held. This is how an honourable nation treats its servants and conducts its affairs; and this is how Nigeria should be”, he said.
The President-elect further assured all foreign governments that Nigeria will become a more forceful and constructive player in the global fight against terrorism and in other matters of collective concern, such as the fight against drugs, climate change, financial fraud, communicable diseases and other issues requiring global response.
He said, “I want to assure our fellow African nations that Nigeria will now stand as a more constructive partner in advancing the matters of concern to our continent, particularly with regard to economic development and eradication of poverty”.
The President-elect listed former head of state and president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Yakubu Gowon, Alh. Shehu Shagari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Abdulsalami Abubakar among those who deserve commendations for their statesmanship and words of caution and counsel for peace during the tense moments of the electoral period.
He added, “Most of all, I thank the people of Nigeria for reposing their confidence in me at this trying moment. Our nation wrestles many challenges including insecurity, corruption, economic decline. I pledge to give you my best in tackling these problems.
“The good people of Nigeria, your obligation does not end with casting your ballot. I seek your voice and input as we tackle these problems. “This will not be a government democratic only in form. It will be a government democratic in substance and in how it interacts with its own people”, he said.
Earlier in his address, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Jega urged all Nigerians to continue to exhibit patience and decorum as such are essential for the deepening of the nation’s democracy. Jega pledged that INEC would continue to do its best towards reforming the electoral process of the country.
He thanked the various security agencies, especially the Police, who he said played the lead role in the security arrangement for the elections.