Tinubu receives Certificate of Return from INEC, promises new deal for youths, extends an olive branch to opponents

…… Receives congratulatory messages from the UK, ECOWAS, others

Tunde Niyi-Akinmade

The president-elect, Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has been given the Certificate of Return for the 2023 Presidential Election.  Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), who was the Chief Returning Officer for last Saturday’s Presidential election, made the presentation on Wednesday.

The Certificate of Return was also given to Senator Kashim Shettima, Tinubu’s running mate in the election.

In the election held on February 25, Tinubu won 12 states polling a total of 8,794, 726 votes while his closest rival Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic  (PDP), also won 12 states, polling a total of  6,984,520 votes. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) scored won 11 states with a total of 6,101,533 votes to place third and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) won one state and got a total of 1, 496, 687 votes in the fourth position.  A total of 18 candidates contested the election.

Speaking at the Certificate presentation ceremony, Tinubu called on the other contestants in the election to join in moving the country forward while promising to hit the ground running as soon as he assumes office, saying he would work day and night to the best of his ability to make the country better.

“By taking this certificate, I assume a sacred duty I shall never ignore.

“To you the people, especially the youths, I will work day and night. I will work to the utmost of my ability to make Nigeria better,” Tinubu said.


In his speech titled, “To serve the people”, Tinubu said the road to victory had been long “yet, we walked it. The battle has been hard fought. Yet, we won it.”

He called on all “to shed the artificial restrictions of bias and prejudice so that we live fully unto our democratic creed that no one is innately superior or entitled to greater rights and opportunities than any other Nigeria.”

“Very soon, this nation shall witness a young person standing before you holding this great symbol of democracy and national leadership. We shall see a woman standing before you, holding this certificate as its owner. We shall experience someone from a tribe that many people have tried to dismiss as somehow being disqualified for this high office.”

‘My victory is for all.”

While addressing the opposition, the APC candidate asked them to see his victory as a victory for all.

“For this to be a victory at all, it cannot simply be a victory for one man or even one party. It must become a victory for all Nigerians who are committed to a greater society.

“I know many did not vote for me. And you are disappointed that your candidate is not where I now stand.

“I understand you are hurt. To you, I extend the embrace and comfort of one family member to another.

“This great project called Nigeria beckons to us all. It is bigger and more important than any partisan divide.

“To my supporters, I ask you to continue to have faith in the mission that we have articulated.

“To those who didn’t support me, I ask that you not allow the disappointment of this moment to keep you from realizing the historic national progress we can make by joining hands and hearts in a common endeavour to pull this nation through.

“In a phrase, I am asking you to work with me. I may be the president-elect but I need you. More importantly, Nigeria needs you. My heart and my door are open to you.

“I ask you to come in so that we may begin the task of rebuilding our national home together, day by day, brick by brick.

“Where there is poverty, let us create prosperity and jobs. Where there is hunger, let us feed the people, chasing hunger from their midst. Where there is now scarcity, let us rediscover abundance. Where there is brutality, may we replace it with brotherhood. Where violence stalks the land, may we establish peace.

“Where others have erected temples of hatred and bias, may we construct permanent monuments of compassion and abiding affection.

“History will record this day as the moment when I officially stood before you as president-elect.

“I hear you loud and clear”, he said.

Earlier in his first reaction to his election, Tinubu said he understands the pains and yearnings of Nigerian youths while assuring them that he has heard them loud and clear with the results of the Presidential election.

“Now, to you, the young people of this country, I hear you loud and clear. I understand your pains, your yearnings for good governance, a functional economy and a safe nation that protects you and your future.

“I am aware that for many of you, Nigeria has become a place of abiding challenges limiting your ability to see a bright future for yourselves.

“Remodeling our precious national home requires the harmonious efforts of all of us, especially the youth. Working together, we shall move this nation as never before”, he said at his Campaign Council headquarters shortly after he was returned duly elected,” he said.

He also addressed other presidential candidates,

“To my fellow candidates, former VP Atiku Abubakar, former governor Kwankwaso, former governor Obi and all others, I extend the hand of friendship. This was a competitive, high-spirited campaign. You have my utmost respect.

“Political competition must now give way to political conciliation and inclusive governance.

“During the election, you may have been my opponent but you were never my enemy. In my heart, you are my brothers.

“Still, I know some candidates will be hard put to accept the election results. It is your right to seek legal recourse. What is neither right nor defensible is for anybody to resort to violence. Any challenge to the electoral outcome should be made in a court of law, and not on the streets,” he said.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages have started pouring into the President-elect from within Nigeria and abroad.

President Muhammadu Buhari in his message described Tinubu as the best person for the job. He said the 2023 Presidential election was Africa’s largest democratic exercise and its success demonstrates democracy’s continued relevance and capability to deliver for the people it serves, especially with its surprising results.

“Within Nigeria, the results reveal democracy’s ripening in our country. Never has the electoral map shifted so drastically in one cycle.

“In the presidential elections, states in all regions across the nation changed colour.

”Some amongst you may have noticed my home state amongst them. The winning candidate did not carry his own home state either. That happens during a competitive election.

”Votes and those that cast them cannot be taken for granted. Each must be earned. Competition is good for our democracy.

”There is no doubt the people’s decision has been rendered in the results we look at today,” he said.

While acknowledging that there were technical problems with the electronic transmission of the results, Buhari stressed that efforts would be intensified to bring further transparency and credibility to the voting procedure in the country.

He also called on those aggrieved by the results to bring fore evidence and use the right channels to seek redress.

“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.

”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.

“However, to do the latter 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,” he said.

Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in a statement by Laolu Akande, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, sends his congratulation to Tinubu and Shettima,  saying that Tinubu had demonstrated consistent fidelity to progressive and welfarist ideals, and ability to build bridges across several divides.

“In your previous years of public service, you have demonstrated a consistent fidelity to progressive and welfarist ideals, and an ability to build bridges across several divides.

“These attributes are needed especially at this time, to reach out to disaffected sections of our society and to meet the aspirational expectations of our young people who have shown such a strong desire to impact our democratic process positively.

“I trust that they will not allow whatever setbacks they may have experienced to truncate their strong desire to determine the future course of our national journey,” Osinbajo said.

The statement stated that Osinbajo directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to formally convey the felicitations of the Federal Executive Council to Tinubu.

On its part, the Nigerian Senate while congratulating Tinubu and Shettima on their victory said with the two men, Nigeria would experience more development.

Senator Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President, during the plenary session on Wednesday, said the prayer is that Nigeria will see more and better development and progress and that the 10th Senate will provide the kind of support that the President-Elect will need for the betterment of our country.

Also, Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in his message, through a post on Twitter,  said the UK-Nigeria relationship remained strong.

“Congratulations to @officialABAT on his victory in Nigeria. The UK-Nigeria relationship remains strong. I look forward to working together to grow our security and trade ties, opening up opportunities for businesses and creating prosperity in both our countries.”

“The UK-Nigeria relationship remains strong. I look forward to working together to grow our security and trade ties, opening up opportunities for businesses and creating prosperity in both our countries,” he added

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in a statement by Umaru Embaló, Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on Wednesday also congratulated Tinubu.

Embaló said stakeholders must ensure peace is sustained by attending to all grievances following the constitution.

“On behalf of His Excellency General Umaru Sissoco Embaló, Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and the entire ECOWAS leadership, we wish to convey our heartfelt congratulations to his excellency senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his election as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement reads.

In the February 24 Presidential election, the 18 political parties and their presidential candidates received the following votes:

Candidate name               Party     Total votes

Imumolen Christopher  A             61,014

Hamza Al-Mustapha       AA          14,542

Omoyele Sowore             AAC       14,608

Dumebi Kachikwu            ADC       81,919

Yabagi Sani Yusuf             ADP       43,924

Bola Tinubu                      APC          8,794,726

Peter Umeadi               APGA         61,966

Princess Ojei Chichi         APM      25,961

Charles Nnadi                  APP          12,839

Sunday Adenuga              BP           16,156

Peter Obi                           LP             6,101,533

Rabiu Kwankwaso           NNPP    1,496,687

Felix Johnson                  NRM         24,869

Atiku Abubakar              PDP           6,984,520

Kola Abiola                   PRP               72,144

Adewole Adebayo     SDP             80,267

AAbdul-Malik Ado-Ibrahim          YPP        60,600

Dan Nwanyanwu             ZLP         77,665




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