Obama, Ban-Ki Moon, Carrington, Hollande, Others Greet Buhari

imageThe World rose in unison yesterday to endorse Saturday’s election won by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

The United Nations, the United States, France and the European Union observer team in separate statements commended the polls’ outcome and hailed outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for being magnanimous in victory.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and other world leaders congratulated President-elect Buhari on his hard worn victory.

In a statement from in New York, Ban said he had spoken to Jonathan and Buhari on the outcome of the polls as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He commended Jonathan for his leadership qualities throughout the electoral process and his statesmanship in upholding the democratic process. He also applauded the INEC for organising the elections in a professional and credible “manner under challenging circumstances”. The UN Chief called on all Nigerians to accept the outcome of the elections

Ban also appealed to them to address any complaints they may have through existing legal and constitutional channels. The Secretary-General said the successful conduct of the polls was a testimony to the maturity of Nigeria’s democracy. He expressed hope that the same democratic spirit would prevail in the conduct of the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections on April 11.

United States President Barack Obama also congratulated President-elect Buhari.

In a statement, Obama said: “The last few days have shown the world the strength of Nigeria’s commitment to democratic principles. By turning out in large numbers and sometimes waiting all day to cast their votes, Nigerians came together to decide the future of their country peacefully.

“I commend President Goodluck Jonathan and President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari for their public commitments to non-violence throughout the campaign. President Jonathan has placed his country’s interests first by conceding the election and congratulating President-Elect Buhari on his victory. I look forward to working with President Jonathan throughout the remainder of his term, and I thank him for his many years of service and his statesmanlike conduct at this critical juncture. I urge President-Elect Buhari and President Jonathan to repeat their calls to their supporters to continue to respect the election outcomes, focus on unifying the country, and together lead Nigeria through a peaceful transition.

“Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its Chairman, Attahiru Jega, deserve special recognition for what independent international observers have deemed a largely peaceful and orderly vote. I commend INEC for its extensive efforts to increase the credibility and transparency of the electoral process. Looking ahead to the gubernatorial elections on April 11, it is imperative that national attention turn to ensuring isolated logistical challenges are overcome and peace is protected, even in the most hotly contested races.

“On behalf of the American people, I extend congratulations to the people of Nigeria and to President-Elect Buhari and look forward to continuing to work with the newly-elected government on our many shared priorities.”

The President of the Republic of France, Mr François Hollande congratulated Gen. Buhari in a statement issued in Abuja by France embassy in Nigeria. It stated that Hollande welcomed the commitment of the Nigerian people and the professionalism exhibited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of the polls.

According to the statement, the French President will speak with Buhari today as France intends to continue its cordial relationship with Nigeria.

“France continues to stand with Nigeria to uphold democratic values, fight against terrorism and promote economic partnership between the two countries,’’ it said.

It added: “This is a victory for the president, but it’s also a victory for the people of Nigeria who affirmed their attachment to democracy and their confidence in the future, by refusing to allow themselves to be intimidated by terrorists.

“Today, Nigeria can show the world that it is a major democracy. It is a source of pride for the population and a source of satisfaction to Nigeria’s partners.

“We welcome the spirit of responsibility demonstrated by the political leaders and pay tribute to the action of President Goodluck Jonathan.

“I hope that President Buhari’s term of office will provide an opportunity to further strengthen the friendly relations between our two countries and to put an end to Boko Haram’s terrorist activities. We also hope that Nigeria will be able to continue its remarkable economic growth, in the interest of the continent’s prosperity.”

President-elect Buhari has been receiving congratulatory messages from other world and Nigerians leaders. He received former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his wife Hajiya Titi and the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield and accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle, among others.

They all pledged their support and commitment to ensuring the success of the Buhari administration and for better relations between their countries and Nigeria.

In his response to the various leaders, General Buhari thanked the international community for working with Nigerians in providing the atmosphere that helped to bring about change through elections in the country.

He promised to work with the international community to restore Nigeria’s full commitment and obligations to the international system.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Walter Carrington in a statement said: “Nigeria has passed the most important milestone on the road to an enduring democracy – the peaceful transfer of power through the ballot box from one party to another. President-Elect Buhari has achieved a decisive victory. In spite of serious security threats the people of Nigeria turned out in impressive numbers to declare by whom they wish to be governed for the next four years. President Jonathan has set the stage for a peaceful transfer of power through his gracious congratulatory call to his successor.

”I feel great optimism for the future of my wife’s homeland. A united Nigeria under the leadership of a man so dedicated and capable of curbing corruption and restoring peace and security can reclaim its moral authority as the leader of the continent from which my ancestors came.

”Arese and I pray for the success of the Buhari administration and will do all we can to work for the strengthening of relations between the United States and Nigeria.”

The European Union (EU) Observer Mission for the elections yesterday described President Jonathan as a good example to the world following the way he conducted the polls and conceded victory to his opponent without rancour.

Head of the EU Observer Mission, Santiago Fisas said: “I congratulate him (Jonathan) for that and I seized the opportunity to give to him our preliminary report about the election.

“He was very happy and of course, I will come back in July with the final statement at a press conference and to give it to the new President and our recommendations would be contained in the final report.

“The elections are so important for the people of Nigeria, but it is an African example for all Africa and countries in the world.

“You know many people didn’t expect that the elections will be peaceful, they expected a lot of violence after the elections but it turned out not to be true.

“Also, I congratulate President Jonathan but I would like to congratulate Nigerian people because they showed a lot of commitment to that election.

“Not in all circumstances would you see such that, people stood in the sun for a very long and hot day, despite some of these problems. It shows that you Nigerians are truly democratic.” he said

According to him, it would remain the discretion of the Nigerian government to decide what recommendations to adopt or reject from the Mission’s findings about this year’s elections.

He said: “It is up to Nigerian government to accept or not to accept the recommendations. We are observers and we have made our recommendations and I don’t want to advance the final report that will be finished after the gubernatorial elections.

“When we can embark on a new ideas with a new President, probably that will be in July, then we will make recommendations public”, he said.

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