THE Presidential and National Assembly elections have come and gone. Winners and losers as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, have also emerged. The winner of the presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari, has already been issued with his Certificate of Returns by INEC.
We are glad to note that so far, the outcome of the first round of elections has gone down without major hiccups in the polity. It needs to be recognised that hardly any election in the world goes without a few flaws.
Even the 2015 elections had their observed errors, yet the loser of the presidential election, former President Goodluck Jonathan, rose above his personal loss and ego, congratulated the winner, General Muhammadu Buhari and handed over power peacefully. He put the peace and overall higher interests of the country above his own by calling the winner even before the results were formally announced, thus setting a golden standard.
We agree with those who hold the view that the elections of last Saturday had its shortcomings, but the world hailed it in terms of the general management of the process by INEC and its partner statutory agencies. However, with the conclusion of the process and the issuance of Certificate of Returns to the re-elected Buhari, it is left for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who rejected INEC’s results, to make good his pledge to seek constitutional redress.
We call on Nigerians to refrain from indulging in street protests as this could lead to avoidable casualties and worsen our economic and security situation. The re-elected government of President Buhari should be given a conducive atmosphere to focus strongly on improving its overall performances in his first term. Elections are only a means to an end, which is good governance and rapid development.
As we prepare for the perhaps more challenging state elections (Governorship and State Houses of Assembly) on Saturday, March 9, 2019, a new opportunity has been provided for us to correct the mistakes of last Saturday. Because it involves the election of very powerful governors at the state level, the contest is likely to be fiercer.
The INEC and the security agencies must gird their loins for the task. The Electoral Umpire must improve on its logistics management and ensure that all eligible voters are given the opportunity to exercise their franchise without let or hindrance. The security agencies must make extra efforts to give adequate protection to all Nigerians irrespective of their partisan or geopolitical roots.
Let there be peace.