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NIGERIA IS THE WINNER—NLC
The president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba issued a press release as follows: The Nigeria Labour Congress joins millions of our compatriots in congratulating Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) on his victory in perhaps the most keenly contested presidential election in the history of our country.
We strongly believe that the election of Major General Buhari has undoubtedly opened a new and important chapter in the socio-political development of our nation as we have finally broken the jinx of transiting from one democratically elected civilian government controlled by a ruling party to one controlled by an opposition party.
We also commend the President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for not only organising an election adjudged to be credible and fair but also for promptly accepting its outcome even though he lost. This is statesmanship and is in keeping with his oft-quoted phrase that his election into the office of President is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
His teeming supporters are expected to learn from this spirit of sportsmanship. We hold the view that this singular act will contribute in no small way in defining his place in the history of this country. But beyond this, it is our hope that the culture of accepting defeat by losers in political contests will continue to grow in our democratic space.
The successfully concluded presidential election is a tribute to the patience, enthusiasm, resilience and determination of Nigerians to choose who governs them. It is a demonstration of their abiding faith in democracy and belief in their country. It also marks the beginning of a new era in our democratic experience where expectations are high.
In spite of some early glitches and imperfections in the voting process, INEC under the leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega is deserving of a special commendation for a credible, transparent and acceptable election. It is no doubt a remarkable improvement on the previous elections conducted by INEC. Not a few will attribute this success to the will of INEC to do the right thing including the use of the card-readers. Today, Nigerians are happy and proud to be associated with this process which has yielded this success.
The election is significant for several reasons, and lessons, we daresay, have been learnt, the most important , perhaps being that, votes do count after all. Politicians will learn to keep their promises to the electorate. When justice prevails in the land, threat to national security and well- being is minimized. Parties are expected to have stronger internal governance structure where grievance management and accountability will be upheld.
Issues of hate campaign and violation of campaign spending limit marked the low point in the presidential election. INEC is expected to correct the imperfections in the system, especially, non-availability/late arrival of electoral materials, delay in the voting process, failing card-reader machines, gaps in the filing and submission of electoral report sheets, etc, all of which have potential not only for negating the process but even for putting in jeopardy the result.
We pay tribute to all Nigerians, the political parties, the electorate, security agencies, members of observer missions domestic and international, and the media for keeping faith. Their vigilance ensured we had an election that is not controversial.
We also pay tribute to the victims of violent incidents, accidents or any other circumstance in pursuance of this election, especially the memory of the dead. They are heroes and martyrs of our new-found democracy. The least the new government can do in their memory is to build upon the culture of democracy it has inherited.
Once again, we at the Nigeria Labour Congress find it necessary to congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari whose victory is a lesson in perseverance and commitment to a cause. As he joins the league of Presidents given a second chance, there are unusually great expectations from his country men and women which he can ill-afford not to meet.
We look forward to working with and engaging the incoming government. We stand ready to work with the President-elect in defining a new agenda for our nation.