He sent his goodwill messages to the President in a statement personally signed by him on Saturday. “I wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on his re-election to lead Nigeria in the next four years,” said the former military president. He added, “I have observed that, the electioneering campaign was very strenuous and the contest very keen. “That despite the turbulent terrain of politics, the President submitted and subjected himself to this process. Indeed is a clear testimony that he believes in the democratic process and ideals.” General Babangida noted that the Presidential and National Assembly elections have come and gone. He also congratulated the electorate for conducting themselves peacefully during the voting process, stressing that they were enthusiastic to exercise their democratic rights of electing candidates of their choice. The elder statesman, however, regretted the loss of lives in the elections as a result of violence in some part of the country. He, therefore, extend his heartfelt condolences to their families for the death of their loved ones. On the way forward after the exercise, General Babangida urged President Buhari to embrace those who contested with him in the election. He said, “The newly elected President should 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.” IBB further challenged the President to confront the ‘insecurity of lives and property,’ which he said was the most urgent problem confronting Nigeria, with renewed vigour. According to him, the Boko Haram insurgency remains a threat to many Nigerians, particularly in the North East sub-region, while the twin evils of kidnapping and armed robbery/armed banditry remain a major national menace. The elder statesman also asked President Buhari to must pay priority attention to the security issues he highlighted and be creative in improving the economy. “The economy of the country must also occupy the President’s urgent attention,” he said. “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 added, “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.” In a similar development, IBB commended and conveyed his admiration to the other contestants for the office of president. He specifically praised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, for his doggedness despite his loss at the poll. General Babangida said, “I was particularly impressed with the gallant and audacious spirit of the main challenger in the presidential race, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar GCON. “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.” IBB called on the former vice president to close ranks and work with the winner of the election in an objective and constructive manner. He explained that this was necessary to ensure that democracy would continue to thrive in the country, especial at this crucial period of renaissance. “I urged him also 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,” the former military president stated. He prayed that the Almighty Allah would continue to guide the democratic steps of the people for peace and progress in the country.]]>
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