President Muhammadu Buhari, winner of Saturday’s presidential election, has received his Certificate of Return from Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, presented the certificate first to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at exactly 2:20pm, after which he signed the acknowledgment copy to be kept in INEC custody. Accompanied by his wife, Dolapo, Osinbajo lifted the certificate up; amid shouts and applause.
The president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, received his certificate at exactly at 2:22pm surrounded by his wife, Aisha, Osinbajo and Dolapo.
The presentation ceremony took place at the National Collation Centre, inside the International Conference Centre, in Abuja.
Yakubu, who was the chief collation officer for the presidential election, had, in the early hours of yesterday declared Buhari winner, with 15,191,847 votes; to defeat the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku and 71 others. According to him, Atiku garnered 11,262,978 to come second in the poll.
In his remarks, Buhari assured that the country will move to the next level as promised in terms of infrastructural development.
Buhari also assured that his government will be inclusive and doors will remain open to those with national interest at heart.
He promised to tackled insecurity, improve the economy and fight corruption.
The president stated that election is not war and must not be a do-or-die affair, commending the doggedness of his co-contestants and urged them to accept the outcome of the results with the elections over.
He said: “I am grateful to God for sparing our lives to witness another milestone in Nigeria’s democratic development–namely, conclusion of the presidential election in an overwhelmingly peaceful manner.
“I wish, Mr Chairman, to congratulate all the presidential candidates and their teams on a hard-fought campaign. We may have had different views during the campaign, but, the one thing most of us have in common is love of our country and our desire to improve conditions for Nigerians.
“From the comments of several observers; local and foreign, it was obvious that the elections were free and fair.
“Now that the elections are over, and a winner declared, we must all see it as a victory for Nigeria, our dear country. That was why I encouraged my teeming supporters, in a speech I read earlier today, not to gloat. Our God-given victory is enough cause for joy, without deriding those who were in the opposition. All Nigerians, going forward, must stand in brotherhood, for a bright and fulfilling future.
“I, therefore, want to assure that we will continue to engage all parties that have the best interest of Nigerians at heart. Our Government will remain inclusive and our doors will remain open. That is the way to build the country of our dream; safe, secure, prosperous, and free of impunity and primitive accumulation by those entrusted with public offices.
“The hardwork to deliver a better Nigeria continues; building on the foundations of peace, rule of law and opportunities for all. We will roll up our sleeves afresh, and give it our all. We have no other motive than to serve Nigeria with our hearts and might, and build a nation which we and generations to come can be proud of.
“I am very grateful to the over 15 million citizens who voted for me, those who contributed in many ways in the running of our successful campaign, and those at home and abroad who expressed confidence in me and the APC Government. I thank you all.
“I can assure that you will see a country moving to the Next Level, as we consolidate on our fundamental areas of securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption. Many other focal areas, as stated in our campaign manual, will be added, to the good things we plan for our country.
“Let me pay tribute here to those who lost their lives either through accidents or mindless violence during the course of these elections. My heart and thoughts are with the families of the victims. May God comfort and give them the fortitude to bear the loss.”