Tinubu says 2023 presidential election was free, credible, dismisses idea of government of national unity

The president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has said that the disputed February 25 presidential election was fair and credible, adding that he won the poll.

Tinubu, who admitted that many Nigerians that voted for the other candidates are disappointed that they lost, however, recognized the rights of the aggrieved candidates to seek legal redress, which is part of the democratic process.

This was made known on Thursday by Tinubu in a signed statement titled, ‘Nigeria at the cusp of renewed hope,’ marking his first official statement after his declaration as president-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 1.

Election fair and credible

Tinubu in the statement said,

  • A fair, credible election has been held and has been won. The honour of that victory and the steep responsibility it entails has fallen on me. I say this not to gloat or boast because there is no room for such behaviour. I merely state the facts as they are. I realise many good and well-meaning Nigerians voted for other candidates.
  • ”They are naturally disappointed that their favoured candidate did not win. Other candidates have voiced their dissatisfaction, stating they will go to court to contest the election. This is inherent to the democratic process. We defend their right to seek legal recourse. While they exercise the legal rights afforded them in our democracy, I have set my course and mind on the leadership of this nation. We have important work to do and I am committed to getting that work done for the benefit of all the people, whether or not they voted for me or even voted at all.’

Seeks competent rather than government of national unity

Tinubu also dismissed the idea of forming a government of national unity that is being advocated by some interest groups and notable individuals, but rather favouring competence over such political arrangement.

He stated that his aim was higher than a government of national unity and would rather seek a government of national competence in selecting his cabinet members and not choosing appointees based on religion.

The president-elect said,

  • As your incoming president, I accept the task before me. There have been talks of a government of national unity. My aim is higher than that. I seek a government of national competence. In selecting my government, I shall not be weighed down by considerations extraneous to ability and performance. The day for political gamesmanship is long gone. I shall assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous and just Nigeria. There shall be young people. Women shall be prominent. Whether your faith leads you to pray in a church or mosque will not determine your place in government. Character and competence will.’’

For catch up

  • Recall that on March 1, 2023, INEC declared the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.
  • The Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, in his pronouncement said that the former Lagos state governor polled a total vote of  8,794,726 to defeat his closest rival and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, who scored  6,984,520 votes, and Peter Obi of Labour party who polled 6,101,533 votes.
  • The presidential candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso came a distant fourth with a total vote of 1,496,687 votes.
  • However, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, in separate press conferences rejected the results of the election and the collation process, saying that they won the election. They have both headed to the court to seek legal redress.
  • Also, Peter Obi, in an earlier interview with Channels Television rejected the idea of being part of the government of national unity, saying that he will first challenge the process that led to the announcement of the results and declaration itself before they can talk of that.