With the collation of the results in the 2015 presidential and National Assembly elections gradually coming to an end after the official announcement of results of 35 out of the 36 states of Nigeria by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has held a telephone conversation with his main contender in the presidential election, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and congratulated him.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends President Jonathan for this singular gesture. It is a highly patriotic move revealing the latent democratic value in the president. This magnanimous action of President Jonathan has lifted Nigeria to a lofty height in the comity of nations. The rest of Africa, in particular and the world in general will now begin to respect Nigeria as a nation with rich democratic values. We doff our hat to President Jonathan for seizing the initiative. He is our man of the moment.
We congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari for this historical feat. We laud his determination, his iron will and his faith in hard work. We also felicitate with the Nigerian electorate, party agents and Nigeria’s sole electoral body, INEC.
In keeping with our avowed commitment to dialogue, we register our total condemnation of the violent protest which led to the burning of INEC’s office in Port Harcourt. In like manner, we strongly denounce the disruption of the collation process in Abuja by the representative of the ruling party. It was most despicable, malicious and preposterous. There are better ways of registering a protest without destroying public property or turning oneself into a laughing stock. All grievances must be channeled through the courts. Giving violent expression on the streets is barbaric and uncivilized.
We urge the judiciary to treat cases that may arise on this election with dispatch. This will encourage Nigerians to eschew jungle justice and to take the court option in future. The National Assembly should also enact laws which will spell out punitive measures to be taken against perpetrators of electoral fraud.We believe that it is not enough to simply restore mandate to the owner, the culprits behind rigging of elections must be identified and pwinnerunished.
Finally, we remind the various political parties and Nigerians in general that President Jonathan has played the role of a responsible leader with the way he ended the 2015 presidential election by calling to congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari.
We urge every Nigerian to emulate him by immediately sinking our differences. Let us rally behind the new leader to build a strong and prosperous Nigeria. There has been no victor in this election. Neither has anyone or any political party been vanquished. The real winner is Nigeria because she is going to remain one.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)