IBB congratulates President Buhari, appeals to Atiku to accept defeat in good faith

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Former Military President General Ibrahim Babangida has appealed to the People Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to accept the outcome of the February 23rd presidential election in good faith and close ranks with President Mohammadu Buhari to build a new Nigeria.

The former head of state, who said he was particularly impressed by what he called “the gallant and audacious spirit” of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, pointed out that “I was not surprised that even though he lost the most exotic position of the land, his doggedness and pattern of support cut across ethnic, religious and regional lines that earned him the second position of the last Presidential election”.

General Babangida, in a statement made available to newsmen in Minna on Saturday, urged the former Vice President “to endeavour and prevail on his admirers to eschew bitterness and violence. They must be prevailed upon to understand that politics is a game in which there must be only one winner.

“I call on the former Vice –President Atiku Abubakar to close ranks and work with the winner of the election in an objective and constructive manner so that democracy will continue to thrive in our country at this crucial period of renaissance.”

The general pointed out that the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections have come and gone, and the elections have produced a new president-elect and new elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives, what is needed is for the winners and losers to close ranks and take Nigeria out of her present situation.

While expressing sadness over those who lost their lives due to violence in some part of the country, the former military leader commended Nigerians who conducted themselves peacefully during the voting process, adding that “they were enthusiastic to exercise their democratic rights of electing candidates of their choice.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to their families for the death of their loved ones.”

General Babangida while congratulating the president-elect for his victory at the poll and for securing the mandate of Nigerians for another four years in office, urged him to heal the wounds of the heated campaign exchanges by embracing those who contested alongside with him.

“The President must resist the temptation to see them as enemies; not even opponents, but fellow compatriots who merely disagreed with him on how best to move our country forward.

“I wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on his re-election to lead Nigeria in the next four years. I have observed that, the electioneering campaign was very strenuous and the contest very keen”.

Babangida expressed happiness that, despite the turbulent terrain of politics, President Buhari submitted and subjected himself to this process, by going to the nook and crannies of the country to campaign.

“Indeed, it is a clear testimony that he believes in the democratic process and ideals.

He urged the President to confront with renewed vigour the most urgent problems facing the country.

According to Babangida, insecurity of lives and property, the Boko Haram insurgency remains a threat to many Nigerians particularly in the Northeast, while the twin evils of kidnapping and armed robbery/armed banditry remain a major national menace, stressing that “the president must pay priority attention to these security issues.”

Babangida recommenced that the economy must occupy the president’s urgent attention, insisting that “there is the need to be more creative in formulating policies that will improve the nation’s economy, create employment opportunities and give hope to our teaming youths.”

He also maintained that “the President may wish to heed to the yearnings of reasonable Nigerians for restructuring and seek all constitutional means to devolve some powers presently exercised by the Federal Government to the other tiers of government.”