Wild jubilation erupted across Nigeria on Tuesday following the victory of the All Progressives Congress candidate in the March 28 presidential election, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The 72-year-old Katsina-born former Head of State defeated incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in an epic electoral battle, winning in 21 states of the federation while Jonathan won in 15 and the Federal Capital Territory.
From the North-East to the North-Central, North-West, South-South, South-East and South-West, the young, the old, male and female trooped out to celebrate a history-making political victory in the annals of the country.
The victory marked the first time political power at the centre would shift from the conservatives to the progressives in a country, whose politics is strewn along the pathways of ethnicity, religion and corruption.
A cross-section of prominent Nigerians has, however, described the victory of Buhari, who had failed on three consecutive attempts to clinch the presidency, as the dawn of a new order for Nigeria.
Prominent among those who reacted to Buhari’s victory, were his ardent critics such as a chieftain of pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo; leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams; National Chairman of the Unity Party of Nigeria, Fredrick Fasehun, among others.
However, encomiums and congratulatory messages poured in from prominent Nigerian leaders, especially members of the APC, who described the victory as deserving.
Obasanjo, Atiku react
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has congratulated Buhari over his victory at the poll, charging him to fight corruption and carry out reforms in different sectors.
Obasanjo, who noted that so much harm had already been done to many national institutions including the military,however, advised him to be magnanimous in victory.
He said, “With so much harm already done to many national institutions including the military, which proudly nurtured you and I, you will have a lot to do on institution reforms – education, health care, economy, security, infrastructure, power, youth employment, agri-business, oil and gas, external affairs, cohesiveness of our nation and ridding our land of corruption.”
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar also congratulated the winner, saying the victory symbolises national rebirth.
He said, “Your victory in the polls, with votes from across the length and breadth of our country, bears witness to the acceptance of not just our party, the APC, but also your ideology of justice, fair play and zero tolerance for corruption as the bedrock for national rebirth.”
Sultan of Sokoto
The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, hailed Nigerians for coming out to peacefully vote in the presidential and National Assembly elections.
The Sultan also commended President Jonathan for calling Buhari to congratulate him on his victory at the polls.
He made the comments while speaking with Channels TV about the elections.
He said, “I have heard so many comments from so many people across the country and some parts of the world. The elections have been very peaceful in most part of the country and I have seen that the voters and electoral officials behaved very well and everything went so smoothly.”
Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, described the victory as “the best thing that can happen to a country that has endured 16 years of misrule at the centre.”
In a statement by his media aide, Semiu Okanlawon, on Tuesday, Aregbesola said, “Nigeria has finally been rescued from the jaws of death after 16 years of social, political and economic strains.”
Speaking in a similar vein, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, described Buhari’s victory as the best thing to happen to Nigeria’s democratic experience and a signal to the end of the Peoples Democratic Party at all levels.
Amaechi, who spoke on Tuesday through his Chief of Staff, Chief Tony Okocha, explained that the PDP refused to deliver the goods to Nigerians for the past 16 years, promising that Nigerians would soon begin to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
He said, “General Buhari’s victory is no doubt the best thing that has happened to the whole of our democratic experience in Nigeria. Of course, his victory will signal the end of the PDP at all levels.”
A former National Secretary of the PDP, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, described the victory as a huge victory for democracy and for all Nigerians.
Oyinlola, a former Osun State governor, who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the APC, said in a statement on Tuesday that “the peaceful manner change came to Nigeria showed the hand of God in the nation’s affairs.”
Congratulating the President-elect, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State said the victory signalled a new dawn in the nation’s polity
Oshiomhole, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria, said, “The spread of your victory across the length and breadth of the country shows your national acceptance as the man Nigeria needs at this critical stage to reposition her from the 16 years of misrule of the PDP.”
He added, “Despite the smear campaigns against your person and candidature and the attempts to polarise the country along ethnic and religious lines, Nigerians made a bold statement by speaking through their ballots that you are, indeed, the President they want at this time of our national history.”
A former Governor of Osun State, Isiaka Adeleke, said the victory was ordained by God, adding that Buhari’s emergence was the climax of a political revolution whose time has come.
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, said by the victory he had been justified for his decision to be part of the merger that resulted in the creation of the APC.
Okorocha, who is the Chairman of APC Governor’s Forum, in a statement signed by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, said it “would have been disastrous for the lgbo to be excluded in the new order in Nigeria.”
A former Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, said the emergence of Buhari signposted a new beginning for Nigeria.
Fayemi, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Olayinka Oyebode, said, “History has just been made in our dear country. Nigerians have spoken. They have spoken clearly through their votes. They want a new direction and a new approach to governance and the APC government under the able leadership of General Muhammadu Buhari owes them this and more.”
A renowned professor of political economy and former presidential candidate, Prof. Pat Utomi, said the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and President Jonathan deserved credit for a successful conduct of the presidential election on Saturday.
He said, “This election was won by the poorest of the poor and unless the government focuses on uplifting the poorest of the poor, then we have missed the road. One of the ways to do this is to determine the biggest challenges that the majority of the Nigerian people face.”
Northern Governors’ Forum
The Chairman, Northern States Governors Forum and Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, on Tuesday, congratulated the President-elect on his electoral success.
Aliyu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Israel Ebije, said the victory of Buhari should be seen as victory for Nigeria’s democracy and the collective progress of the nation.
Aliyu also hailed President Jonathan for conceding defeat, saying history will remember him for his political maturity.
One dies celebrating in Jos
One person was killed in Bukuru area of Jos-South Local Government Area of Plateau State as jubilant youths celebrated the victory of Buhari.
One of our correspondents gathered that the youths trooped into the streets as soon as news filtered in at about 5.45 pm that Jonathan had phoned Buhari to congratulate him.
An eyewitness said that the victim died around Kugiya area of Bukuru.
Also, jubilant youths from Gangere area of Jos-North marched through Muritala Mohammad Way, singing and jubilating.
Edo declares holiday
The Edo State Government has declared today a work-free day to celebrate the victory of Buhari.
Oshiomhole, in a statement signed by Okhiria, on Tuesday, also declared a victory party, which he said would hold on the same day.
The statement read, “Meanwhile, the state Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, invites the people of the state to a victory party which will hold at the Oba Ovoranmwen Square, Benin City, starting from 3pm on Wednesday, April 1.”
Wild celebrations erupted across the country on Tuesday with jubilant youths storming through cities and towns.
Sagamu, Ijebu Ode