PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Time to set aside differences, move our country forward, Presidency tells Nigerians

  • Allow Judiciary do their work, Gowon cautions Atiku, Obi

The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, has tasked Nigerians to set aside their differences over the just concluded general elections and chart a way forward for nation building.

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Gambari said this on Thursday in Calabar while delivering the 35th convocation lecture of the University of Calabar with the theme, “The Leadership and Followership Question in Nigeria: Imperatives of an Ethical Re-Orientation”.

He said that the 2023 polls had been conducted and winners had emerged, adding that Nigerians should join hands in building a better country.

According to him, the convocation lecture was taking place at a time when the country was going through a transition that will culminate into the inauguration of a new leadership on May 29.

He noted that as the inevitable work of national healing, reconciliation and rebuilding inevitably begins, the convocation lecture offered an excellent opportunity towards nation building.

Gambari said that it was time for Nigerians to collectively have an introspect in order to carry on the work of national advancement with a renewed vigour and a shared commitment.

He stated, “Our journey of nationhood and statehood began in earnest at independence in 1960 amidst high hopes that, as the biggest concentration of people of African descent, we had a manifest destiny to lead Global Africa on its journey of rebirth and transformation.

“Our hopes were bolstered by a number of other factors that were at play. These included the rich resource endowments with which we were and are still blessed, and the giants of political leaders who worked to usher the country to independence.

“These political leaders were remarkable as much for their vision and commitment to national development and progress as for the integrity and sense of responsibility with which they conducted public affairs.

“The high hopes of that led to independence and early post-colonial years gradually began to wane amidst rising acrimony, dissension and discord among the leaders of the First Republic.”

He noted that, at a time, Nigeria was locked into a cycle of ethno-regional recriminations, inter-religious suspicions and generalised instability.

“I have never by any stretch of the imagination subscribed to the pessimistic school of commentators who exaggerate the problems of our country and downplay its successes as a vocation.

“However, few are the Nigerians who will fail to acknowledge that from a promising start, we have lived through a prolonged season where the country has, overall, not been able to live up to the promise of its founding ideals.

“It is partly in recognition of the underperformance that came to characterise governance and development in Nigeria that such developments as military incursions into the governance arena began to be witnessed, those interventions being presented as necessary ‘corrective’ actions.

“Ironically, those interventions became part and parcel of a spiral of instability that only ended in 1999 with the birth of the Nigerian Fourth Republic.

“While it lasted as a norm in the administration of national affairs, the military in government experimented with various social engineering initiatives designed, among others, to curb corruption in high public office, wastefulness and indolence among government officials, and loss of the national moral compass,” he said.

According to him, the leadership that leaves a lasting imprint on society is one which is anchored on humility before the followership and an exemplary ethical compass.

He added that followership that succeeds in nurturing and throwing up quality leadership is one that is engaged in public affairs with an overriding spirit of what is best for all.


The Chief of Staff urged leaders to enlarge the circle that unites the country and use its natural resources to make it great.

Also, the Presidency said, on Thursday, that the victory of the President-elect and Vice President-elect, Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, respectively, and the established control of the All Progressives Congress in 21 out of 36 states in the last general elections, have firmly established the party as a dominant national political party.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this was “a difficult reality for the opposition parties.”

According to him, opposition victory in the general election would not only have been a career ending moment for many APC leaders but would also have had negative consequences for the various programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration that empowered marginalised groups and remedied much of the nation’s infrastructure deficit.

Shehu spoke in his office in Abuja while receiving the Arewa Young Lawyers’ Forum (AYLF), the umbrella body for all young lawyers in the Northern part of Nigeria.

“APC victory in the election is a watershed moment for the Buhari government, its orientation, its programmes and projects.

‘‘In the hands of the opposition, many of the laudable programmes of the Buhari administration would have been sabotaged or unimplemented.

“An important and overlooked aspect of the Tinubu/Shettima victory is that it ensures, not only an orderly transfer of power from the outgoing administration to the incoming one, but also the safety of policies and programmes of the outgoing government.

‘‘For this, we remain grateful to the Almighty, and to citizens of Nigeria for sticking with our Party,” he said.

In accepting his appointment as Grand Patron of the Arewa Young Lawyers’ Forum, the presidential spokesman urged members of the association to be at the vanguard of promoting the study and practice of the legal profession in the northern states.

“To build and secure democracy in our communities, you need lawyers and journalists as its guardians and protectors. Without one, the other will not be successful,” he admonished.

The Chairman of AYLF, Olayinka Dauda Jimoh, craved the support of the Presidency in giving strategic training to young wigs to enhance their leadership roles in the society.

Meanwhile, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has urged aggrieved parties of the February 25 general elections to respect the sanctity of the court and humbly accept its decision in the coming days as final.

Gowon made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the 15th edition of the PUNUKA Annual Lecture 2023 and symposium in honour of the late Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Chike Idigbe.

The ex-military Head of State who emphasised the need for a strong, independent and impartial judiciary, admonished aggrieved politicians and the public to abide by the decisions of the court.

He said, “As we move forward as a nation, let us not forget the role that the Judiciary plays in nation-building, especially the apex court, in carrying out its duty of questioning the veracity of the decisions of the lower court.

“As such, we need to allow the apex court their deliberations and come up with their decisions, and as the public, to be humble to accept their decision as final in order to maintain the sanctity of the Judiciary as individuals and as an institution.

“This is very important at this stage given the post-election litigation that is now going on.

“Let us give the judiciary the opportunity to do their work and let us accept their decision as it is.”

Acknowledging the challenge of the country since independence, he affirmed that “the judiciary plays a vital role in nation building and in keeping us united as a nation”.

“The judiciary, in essence, is the guardian of the constitution and the rule of law… As a former head of state, I have seen and known, first hand, the importance of the judiciary in maintaining stability and order in our society,” he stated.

General Gowon poured encomium on the late jurist and attested to his unwavering dedication to service and bravery in the dispensation of justice.

“From what I have learnt of Justice Idigbe, his contributions to the judiciary and nation-building cannot be overemphasised. His unwavering commitment to upholding justice and the rule of law is a testament to his unflinching character and his belief in our nation evinced through his life and office,” he said.