The Guild of Corporate Online Publishers has described as successful the conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria.
GOCOP, in a statement by its President, Malachy Agbo, said apart from field reports by its members and staff who covered the elections, the commendations locally and by the international community attest to the fact that this is, perhaps, the freest and fairest elections ever conducted in the country.
The statement, which congratulated the President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari, for teaching Nigerians a lesson in perseverance with his victory, having sought the same position thrice in the past without success, also charged the candidate of the All Progressives Congress to be magnanimous in victory.
“The time to jettison partisanship by the General is now as electioneering is over and the serious business of governance is at hand,” the statement said.
“There is no idea or persons that should be discarded in the process of moving the country forward.”
GOCOP also saluted President Goodluck Jonathan for his glaring show of sportsmanship with his decision to congratulate Mr. Buhari even before the official declaration of the result.
It said, “This, no doubt, doused the tension that had been building up before the announcement of the final result and pulled the bullets out of the already cocked guns of those prepared for war in the event that their candidate loses.”
The association also praised Mr. Jonathan for overseeing two successive elections that had proven that the country was also capable of holding its head high in the comity of nations when it comes to the conduct of free and fair elections.
Mr. Malachy in the statement also paid glowing tribute to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, and his staff for ensuring the elections free and fair.
He said the place of Mr. Jega in Nigeria’s history can never be forgotten.
GOCOP equally praised the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation and the media team of the APC, headed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for playing by the rules of the game through the avoidance of hate speeches and focusing on issues rather than frivolities throughout the campaign that heralded the elections.
GOCOP said the APCPCO, led by a former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mallam Garba Shehu, showed immense professionalism in the handling of the presidential campaign of the APC.
The association also commended Nigerians who participated fully in the voting process, in some cases under the rain.
The statement added, “Elections are about the people.
“And Nigerians showed great zeal and commitment to the process by turning out enmass to cast their votes, with some staying under the rain, as witnessed in most part of Lagos State, to cast their votes.
“For over 28 million Nigerians to have cast their votes out of the registered 68 million voters is a testimony to the zeal of Nigerians to participate in the process to elect their leaders.
“It is indeed victory for all.”
The Guild urged Nigerians to show the same enthusiasm for the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections coming up on April 11.