Bola Tinubu, the incoming president of Nigeria, condemned the physical and verbal assaults perpetrated against voters in various states of the federation during the gubernatorial and Houses of Assembly elections on Saturday.
Tinubu also appealed for reconciliation and healing following the conclusion of the elections.
Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), responded swiftly on Tuesday, dismissing Tinubu’s appeal for healing following a violent election as the height of hypocrisy.
In a statement he personally signed, Tinubu expressed regret over the recorded violations during elections and their aftermath in certain states.
In a statement headlined “Elections Are Over: The Healing Process Must Begin,” the president-elect emphasised the importance of elections to the growth and maintenance of democracy and democratic state government.
Consolidating democratic administration at the subnational level, he argued, will increase development and enhance the quality of life for the public.
According to him, “the more we entrench and solidify the benefits of our democratic venture across the breadth and length of our nation, the greater the dividends of democracy and good governance for our people.”
Tinubu continued, “But, I am disheartened by reports of isolated violations during the polls and their aftermath in a few states. I strongly denounce it. And addition, the allegation of arson following the announcement of the results for governor in one state does not reflect who we genuinely are: peace-loving people.
“Physical and verbal assaults are wrong and contrary to democratic principles.
“Elections should be a celebration of our maturing democracy and the right to choose, not a time of sorrow. I am particularly distressed by instances of ethnic slurs that can lead to unwarranted mischaracterization that have been reported in some localities.”
The president-elect urged all Nigerians to rise above their particular differences, “which, in truth, are less than the treasured ties that link the nation as a people, regardless of birth circumstances.”
Tinubu stated that, as a former governor of Lagos State, he could speak to the country’s variety and unity.
He declared, “As your next president, I promise to infuse national governance with the spirit of inclusion we fostered in Lagos, so that together we may realise our full potential.
“I will prioritise extending civic space and protecting the freedom of citizens to use their rights within the confines of the law.”
The president-elect emphasised that the elections were done and that the people had elected their governors and state legislators who would serve them for the next four years, stating that the elected representatives are now responsible for leadership and governance.
He emphasised that in a democracy, the majority will have the last say, but added that the majority must not silence the minority.
Moreover, Tinubu stated that, as democratic individuals, “they must protect free speech,” adding that winners must be gracious and losers must have a wide capacity for tolerance and regard for the nation’s greater good.
He emphasised that the only way for elected officials to justify the faith and confidence of the people and the mandate granted to them was to dedicate themselves to serving the people.
The president-elect stated that he and his team must work diligently and earnestly to make life better for the public, stating that as elected leaders, they have no other duty than to be burden-bearers for the masses and ensure they have the improved living they promised during the campaigns.
He said, “Urgent measures must be taken to unite the people, both those who voted for us and those who did not. We must advocate for the healing process by embracing our adversaries and their supporters. As previously said, the time for à has passed. It is the time for nation-building, a work that transcends any one person or segment of society. We need every available hand, regardless of origin.”
In response to Tinubu’s statement, Atiku characterised the former governor of Lagos State’s appeal for reconciliation following a violent election as the height of hypocrisy.
Nonetheless, the former vice president praised the United States for criticising the violent and racially charged election in Lagos State. Mr. Phrank Shaibu, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Media, branded Tinubu’s statement as an afterthought and hypocritical rubbish in a statement.
In order to give his All Progressives Congress (APC) party an advantage during the governorship race, Tinubu’s minions insulted Igbo voters in Lagos.
Shaibu stated that Tinubu continued to shield transport hooligans, politicians, and even traditional leaders in Lagos who were seen on film threatening non-indigenous individuals.
He stated, “Tinubu’s most recent statement is full of hypocrisy and deceit. Tinubu remained silent for an entire month as traditional leaders, transport hooligans, and politicians in his side threatened non-indigenous individuals.
“MC Oluomo, a member of his Presidential Campaign Committee, was seen on film threatening Igbo citizens, but Tinubu remained silent. His campaign spokesmen, Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani-Kayode, used to social media to discourage Igbo citizens against exercising their right to vote, while Tinubu turned a blind eye.
“Traditional authorities imposed curfews and slaughtered and placed goats in front of polling stations, but Tinubu remained silent.
“In Gbara village, Eti Osa local government, a traditional head and council chairman summoned non-indigenes to a meeting where they threatened non-indigenes with expulsion if they did not vote for the APC, but Tinubu said nothing.
“Those invited by the police declined because Tinubu is protecting them.”
“On election day, several Igbo-looking persons were battered and stopped from voting, but Tinubu remained silent. He has rediscovered his voice and is preaching reconciliation now that his party has stolen the election. He should communicate this to the marines.
If Tinubu is sincere, he should ensure that all responsible parties are apprehended and prosecuted. Nonetheless, we are aware that he cannot do so because he is their godfather.”
Shaibu also described the US Embassy in Nigeria’s statement condemning the violence against the Igbo as a positive development.
But, he argued that the United States should have gone farther by naming individuals deemed responsible and revealing the identity of those who would be subject to visa restrictions.
Atiku’s assistant added, “We thank the United States and European Union governments for criticising the violence and intimidation that marred the governorship race, particularly in Lagos, where Tinubu’s thugs held the state to ransom.
“But, the United States knew the identities of the perpetrators of violence and should have mentioned them.” MC Oluomo holds U.S. citizenship. The United States must also name others, including traditional authorities in Lagos, who were complicit in the crime.
“In the past, the United States has publicly criticised Vladimir Putin of Russia and others found deficient in other nations. There is no need for political correctness at this moment. Individuals whose visas will be revoked should be named and shamed.”
Shaibu argued that reconciliation was impossible without restitution. He stated that anything less would not heal any wounds.
In addition, Atiku’s adviser said that Tinubu’s electioneering demonstrated that he had no intention of uniting Nigeria and merely sought power and Nigeria’s wealth.
He stated, “Tinubu seeks only power. Before he assumed power, Lagos was famed for its sophistication and hospitability. In Lagos, the late Nnamdi Azikiwe established his political foundation and economic empire.
“In 1951, Mbonu Ojike, a native of Imo State, served as the Deputy Mayor of Lagos. Others from all over the country and the world established businesses and political careers in Lagos without interference.
“Yet, under Bola Tinubu’s leadership, Lagos has become an intolerant state where non-natives are openly thrashed on election day and threatened with eviction if they do not vote for his party. Now he’s attempting reconciliation? What a joke!
“There will be no reconciliation until MC Oluomo and all of his accomplices who participated in issuing threats and brutalising individuals are vigorously prosecuted.”