General Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president-elect this afternoon been issued a Certificate of Return by INEC. Read his acceptance speech after the cut:
I am immensely grateful to God for this day and for this hour. I feel truly honoured and humbled that the Nigerian people have so clearly chosen me to lead them. The official announcement from INEC was the moment the vast majority of Nigerians had hoped and been waiting for. Today, history has been made, and change has finally come. Your votes have changed our national destiny for the good of all Nigerians.
INEC has announced that I, Muhammadu Buhari, shall be your next president. My team and I shall faithfully serve you. There shall no longer be a ruling party again: APC will be your governing party. We shall faithfully serve you. We shall never rule over the people as if they were subservient to government.
Our long night has passed and the daylight of new democratic governance has broken across the land. This therefore is not a victory for one man or even one party. It is a victory for Nigeria and for all Nigerians. Millions of you have worked for this day. So many have risked life and livelihood; and others have died that we may witness this moment.
And it is with a very heavy heart that I report many deaths and injuries amidst the jubilations yesterday. We send our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives; and wish speedy recovery to those who suffered injuries. I appeal to all our supporters to celebrate this victory with prayers and reflection instead of wild jubilation.
May the souls of those who died rest in peace. Let us take a moment of silence to honour all of thosewhose sacrifices have brought us to this fine and historic hour. As the results of the election haveshown, their labor has not been and will never be in vain. Democracy and the rule of law will be re-established in the land.
Let us put the past, especially the recent past, behind us. We must forget our old battles and pastgrievances—and learn to forge ahead. I assure you that our government is one that will listen to andembrace all.
I pledge myself and our in-coming administration to just and principled governance. There shall be no bias against or favouritism for any Nigerian based on ethnicity, religion, region, gender or social status. I pledge myself and the government to the rule of law, in which none shall be so above the law that they are not subject to its dictates, and none shall be so below it that they are not availed of its protection.
You shall be able to go to bed knowing that you are safe and that your constitutional rights remain in safe hands. You shall be able to voice your opinion without fear of reprisal or victimisation. My love and concern for this nation and what I desire for it extends to all, even to those who do not like us or our politics. You are all my people and I shall treat everyone of you as my own. I shall work for those who voted for me as well as those who voted against me and even for those who did not vote at all. We all live under one name as one nation: we are all Nigerians.
Some unfortunate issues about my eligibility have been raised during the campaign. I wish to state that through devotion to this nation, everything I have learned and done has been to enable me to make the best possible contribution to public life. If I had judged myself incapable of governing Iwould never have sought to impose myself on it. I have served in various capacities and have always put in my best.
But despite the rancour of the elections, I extend a hand of friendship and conciliation to President Jonathan and his team. I hereby wish to state that I harbour no ill will against anyone.
Let me state clearly that President Jonathan has nothing to fear from me. Although we may notagree on the methods of governing the nation, he is a great Nigerian and still our president. Hedeserves our support and permanent respect by virtue of the office he has held. This is how anhonourable nation treats its servants and conducts its affairs; and this is how Nigeria should be.
I look forward to meeting with President Jonathan in the days to come to discuss how our teams canmake the transition of administrations as efficient as possible.
Here, I want to thank my party for selecting me as its candidate. I thank our party leaders andmembers for the steadfast contributions they made to bring our dream to fruition. I thank INEC, thepolice and all other government agencies for performing their tasks in a proper manner and forrefusing to be induced to undermine the election and the democratic process.
I also wish to thank religious Leaders, traditional leaders, the media, labor unions, Civil Societyorganisations, organised private sector, youths and students for their roles in this election.
I give special thanks to President Obama and his timely intervention and support for peacefuland credible elections in Nigeria and for sending Secretary John Kerry and other United Statesofficials. The European Union - especially the United Kingdom, France, Germany and other nations thatwere actively involved in ensuring the success of this election are equally appreciated. My sincerethanks to the United Nations Secretary General Mr Ban-Ki Moon. The Commonwealth, China, India andother Asian and Gulf states are also hereby appreciated. Finally our brothers in the African Unionand ECOWAS have truly and clearly shown and demonstrate their commitment to ourdemocratisation process. Former Presidents John Kuffour, Amos Sawyer, Bakili Muluzi and histeam are well appreciated. I must also add my appreciation for the role played by civil societies,national and International observers, other world leaders in ensuring that Nigeria holds free and fairelections.
I assure all foreign governments that Nigeria will become a more forceful and constructiveplayer in the global fight against terrorism and in other matters of collective concern, such as thefight against drugs, climate change, financial fraud, communicable diseases and other issuesrequiring global response. I want to assure our fellow African nations that Nigeria will nowstand as a more constructive partner in advancing the matters of concern to our continent, particularly with regard to economic development and eradication of poverty.
Former head of state and president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Yakubu Gowon, Alh. ShehuShagari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Abdulsalami Abubakardeserve commendations for their statesmanship and words of caution and counsel for peace duringthe tense moments of this electoral period.
Most of all, I thank the people of Nigeria for reposing their confidence in me at this trying moment.Our nation wrestles many challenges including insecurity, corruption, economic decline. I pledge to giveyou my best in tackling these problems.
The good people of Nigeria, your obligation does not end with casting your ballot. I seek your voiceand input as we tackle these problems. This will not be a government democratic only in form. Itwill be a government democratic in substance and in how it interacts with its own people.
No doubt, this nation has suffered greatly in the recent past, and its staying power has beentested to its limits by crises, chief among which is insurgency of the Boko Haram. There isno doubt that in tackling the insurgency we have a tough and urgent job to do. But I assure youthat Boko Haram will soon know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation ofterror, and bring back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas. We shall spare no effort until wedefeat terrorism.
Furthermore, we shall strongly battle another form of evil that is even worse than terrorism—the evil ofcorruption. Corruption attacks and seeks to destroy our national institutions and character. Bymisdirecting into selfish hands funds intended for the public purpose, corruption distorts theeconomy and worsens income inequality. It creates a class of unjustly-enriched people.
Such an illegal yet powerful force soon comes to undermine democracy because its conspirators haveamassed so much money that they believe they can buy government. We shall end this threat toour economic development and democratic survival. I repeat that corruption will not be toleratedby this administration; and it shall no longer be allowed to stand as if it is a respected monument inthis nation.
I ask you to join me in resolving these and the other challenges we face. Along the way, therewill be victories but there may also be setbacks. Mistakes will be made. But we shall nevertake you for granted; so, be rest assured that our errors will be those of compassion andcommitment not of wilful neglect and indifference.
We shall correct that which does not work and improve that which does. We shall not stop, standor idle. We shall, if necessary crawl, walk and run to do the job you have elected us to do.
I realise that the expectation of our people today is as high as their commitment to change hasbeen strong and their belief in us unshaken. While we pledge to begin doing our best without delay,we would like to appeal to them to appreciate the gravity of our situation, so that we become more realisticin our expectations.
We will govern for you and in your interests. Your vote was not wasted. This is not the first time Nigerianshave cast their votes for us, and this is not the first time they have been counted; but this is the first timethat the votes have been allowed to count. With the help of God, we pledge to do our utmost to bringforth the Nigeria you seek.
Thank you for your patience and attention.
General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
Federal Republic of Nigeria