Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has urged defeated candidates in the just-ended presidential election not to incite violence.
He said any candidate who is dissatisfied with the declared results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should seek legal redress.
President Buhari tweeted this on Wednesday after INEC announced Bola Amed Tinubu as the president-elect from Saturday’s election.
Mr Tinubu’s win has since been disputed by opposition parties, who have demanded a rerun.
But according to Mr Buhari, although there were faults and challenges with the electronic transmission of the result, “there is no doubt the people’s decision has been rendered in the results we look at today”.
He stated that it may be difficult for the defeated candidates to come to terms with the result released by INEC. Therefore, if they [defeated candidates] find it necessary to challenge the outcome of the results, they should do so in accordance with the laws governing election in the country and not through violence.
“Votes and those that cast them cannot be taken for granted. Each must be earned. Competition is good for our democracy.
“That is not to say the exercise was without fault. For instance, there were technical problems with the electronic transmission of the results. Of course, there will be areas that need work to bring further transparency and credibility to the voting procedure.
“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”, President Buhari stated.
President Buhari added that “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”, he stressed.
The outgoing president called on all candidates to remember the peace deal signed before the election.
He explained that causing violence, as a result of the election, is not in the interest of the people but only for selfish gain.
Mr Buhari added that the people have chosen their leader and that the credibility of INEC should not be undermined.
“To take to the streets 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. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, Buhari stated.
President Muhammadu Buhari has since congratulated Bola Tinubu and said he is the best man for the job.
“I congratulate His Excellency 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”, he said.