*Says his mind is set on governance, while other aggrieved candidates head to court
*Declares new parties’ good showing speaks to strength of democracy
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
President-elect Bola Tinubu, has assured Nigerians that in selecting his government, he would not be weighed down by considerations extraneous to ability and performance, saying the day for political gamesmanship was long gone.
Tinubu, in a statement he personally signed, yesterday, said while there had been talks of a government of national unity, his aim was much higher, because he sought a government of national competence.
Reiterating that he would assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous Nigeria, the president-elect noted that an important step towards restoring economic normalcy had been taken by the Supreme Court’s decision on the parity of old and new notes.
He said this had restored both the rule of law and economic decency, adding that this was not the end of the story, but the beginning of a more comprehensive solution to the country’s economic challenges
“As your incoming president, I accept the task before me. There has been talk of a government of national unity. My aim is higher than that. I seek a government of national competence. In selecting my government, I shall not be weighed down by considerations extraneous to ability and performance. The day for political gamesmanship is long gone.
“I shall assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous and just Nigeria. There shall be young people. Women shall be prominent. Whether your faith leads you to pray in a church or mosque will not determine your place in government. Character and competence will.
“To secure our nation and to make it prosperous must be our top priorities. We cannot sacrifice these goals to political expediency. The whims of politics must take a backseat to the imperatives of governance,” he said.
Tinubu stressed that there were bridges and roads to build not just for commerce and travel but to connect people of different faiths, parties and different outlooks in harmonious dialogue and common purpose.
According to him, “We have families to feed not just to eliminate hunger but to nurture enlightenment, civic responsibility and compassion. We have jobs to create not merely to put people to work but to afford all a better standard of living by which families and communities are improved and democracy deepened.
“We have water to replenish not just to quench physical thirst but to ignite a thirst for creative and better solutions to society’s challenges. We have a nation to protect such that we eliminate danger and even the fear of danger.
“An important step towards restoring economic normalcy has been taken by the Supreme Court’s decision on the parity of old and new notes. This restores both the rule of law and economic decency. But this is not the end of the story. It is merely the beginning of a more comprehensive solution to our economic challenges.”
The president elect further said his “Action Plan” outlined goals for greater economic growth in cities and rural communities, and assured the people that he was committed to an economy of double-digit GDP growth, greater food security and one with a strengthened manufacturing base as well as an active digital economy, where young people would have ample space to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.
Commenting on the February 25 presidential and National Assembly election, Tinubu said a fair, credible election had been held and had been won, adding that the honour of the victory and the steep responsibility it entailed has fallen on him.
“I say this not to gloat or boast because there is no room for such behaviour. I merely state the facts as they are,” he said.
The president-elect restated that he realised many good and well-meaning Nigerians voted for other candidates, saying they are naturally disappointed that their favoured candidate did not win, while other candidates have voiced their dissatisfaction, stating they would go to court to contest the election.
Tinubu noted: “This is inherent to the democratic process. We defend their right to seek legal recourse. While they exercise the legal rights afforded them in our democracy, I have set my course and mind on the leadership of this nation. We have important work to do and I am committed to getting that work done for the benefit of all the people, whether or not they voted for me or even voted at all.”
He pointed out that this was not the time for continued acrimony and partisan recrimination, saying such negative things could incite strong passions, but that they were not the pathway to a better nation.
“Critics of Nigeria have been too quick to conclude that our political system is fragmented because of the impressive showing of new parties and their candidates. These critics are wrong. The emergence of the new parties and their candidates underscores the dynamic strength of our democracy. People want democracy to work and they want to have their voices heard and interests met within it. This is a good thing to be promoted, not something to be feared.
“What must concern us is not the growth of parties but the regrowth of old prejudices and bigotries such as ethnicity, creed and place of origin. As a nation and as individuals imbued with the love of God and of our fellow man, we are better than this. At some point, we must decide whether we shall be enticed by the ills of the past or shall we more bravely and nobly be encouraged by the eminent prospect of a brighter future.
“There have been times in our past when our governing institutions created more questions than they answered. But the arc of our political history gives me confidence that we can overcome that past. We have walked through the thick of the night to emerge into the light of brighter days to come. There is no good reason to retreat into the darkness of years past,” he said.
The president-elect said there was a need to begin to repair and rebuild the nation, saying though there was time to complete the task, time is also of the essence.
Tinubu stressed that he and his team had been daily engaged in discussions and meetings, refining their ideas and policy solutions so that they could begin actively working towards the common good the very first day they assume office.