Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar
By Yemi Adebowale
At last, former vice-president Atiku Abubakar has congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan on his recent election as President, asking him to use the opportunity of his victory to unite the country.
Also, Atiku who battled Jonathan at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary election congratulated all elected state governors, senators, House of Representatives members and members of the state houses of assembly particularly those of his party, PDP.
In a statement issued yesterday by his media office in Abuja, the former vice-president said with the successful conclusion of this year's general election, "all elected leaders and fellow countrymen should get to work in earnest to deliver the much-needed democratic dividends to Nigerians."
He said all those who may have any reservations with the outcome of the elections should avail themselves with laid down judicial processes in seeking redress and not to resort to acts that may be inimical to national unity and stability.
Atiku urged President Jonathan to use the opportunity of his election to unite the country, saying that should be his immediate challenge as President-elect.
In view of the post-election violence that greeted the election in some parts of the North, Atiku advised Jonathan to begin an urgent healing process in the entire country and within the PDP family as well.
He said with the challenges of improving the quality of life of Nigerians, the President has a duty to heal the deep divisions and wounded feelings, which may be needless distractions to the challenges of governance that lies ahead.
According to Atiku, the future and unity of a nation should be uppermost in the mind of every statesman.
While extending his hands of fellowship to President Jonathan, the former vice-president advised him to carry every section of the country along regardless of how they may have voted during the elections.
He explained that partisan politics ends with the election of leaders and that the next challenge should focus on how to uplift the welfare of Nigerians.
"It is no longer news that President Jonathan and our camp differed on matters of principle. But let no one be in doubt about our resolve to work together with him in the arduous task of economic development and nation building," Atiku said.
The congratulatory message is coming over a week after the former military president, Gen-eral Ibrahim Babangida, congratulated Jonathan as the President elect.
Also, the international community had congratulated Jonathan for the election, saying the April poll was free and fair, eventhough it may not be perfect.
Both Atiku and Babangida are members of the Northern Politicians Elders Forum, which worked to present a consensus presidential candidate to confront Jonathan at the PDP presidential primary on January 13 in Abuja.
Atiku had emerged as the Northern consensus candidate but Jonathan defeated him at the PDP primary.