Former military leader, Ibrahim Babangida, has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his reelection.
Mr Babangida also urged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, to work with the winner in the interest of the country.
Mr Babaginda said this on Saturday via a statement.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mr Buhari as the winner of last Saturday’s presidential election after he got 15,191,847 votes to defeat Mr Abubakar who garnered 11,262,978 votes.
In his message, Mr Babangida urged Mr Buhari to address Nigeria’s most urgent problems such as economic challenges and insecurity.
Mr Babaginda also urged the president-elect to heed the yearnings of Nigerians for the restructuring of the country, urging him to seek constitutional means to devolve some powers presently exercised by the federal government.
”I congratulate the Nigerian electorate who conducted themselves peacefully during the voting process; they were enthusiastic to exercise their democratic rights of electing candidates of their choice,” he said.
”Sadly, due to violence in some part of the country, lives were lost and I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to their families for the death of their loved ones.
”I wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on his re-election to lead Nigeria in the next four years.
”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.”
Mr Babaginda advised President Buhari to desist from seeing his opponents as enemies.
”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.
”Now that the President has won his re-election bid, he should confront with renewed vigor the most urgent problem confronting Nigeria: ‘insecurity of lives and property’. The Boko Haram insurgency remains a threat to many Nigerians particularly in the North East subregion, while the twin evils of kidnapping and armed robbery/armed banditry remain a major national menace. The president must pay priority attention to these security issues.
”The economy of the country must also occupy the president’s urgent attention. 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 teeming youths.
”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.
Mr Babangida, himself a former PDP presidential aspirant, however, urged Mr Abubakar to pacify his supporters to refrain from violence, adding that politics is a game in which there must be only one winner.
He also showered special praises for Mr Abubakar, saying he impressed him with his gallant and audacious spirit as the main challenger.
”I call on the former Vice –President Atiku Abubakar to close ranks and work with the winner of the election in an objective and constructive manner so that democracy will continue to thrive in our country 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.
”I pray that the Almighty Allah will continue to guide our democratic steps for peace and progress in our country.”