NAN – Former head of state, Yakubu Gowon, has said that the peaceful conduct of the March 28 presidential poll, has proven wrong those who predicted that Nigeria would break up in 2015.
Speaking with NAN in Jos, capital of Plateau state, on Monday, April 6, 2015 Gowon commended Nigerians for turning out en masse to vote. and appealed to Muhammadu Buhari, president-elect, to make the people feel the impact of entrusting him with their mandate.
“No one will ever repeat that wild and arrogant prediction that Nigeria will go under; those doomsayers have been shamed and Nigeria will grow from strength to strength,” he said.
“The nation has always had the mechanism to tackle its concerns and this election and its peaceful outcome have proved that a united and focused nation would always survive and move toward greatness
“During the elections, I visited polling units in Asokoro, Karu, Nyanya, Maitama and Wuse; the people came early and in many cases waited for INEC officials that came late. I was touched by such commitment.
“I was also touched by the good spirit and camaraderie amongst the voters as they waited to vote; I was also happy that they were very friendly and did not allow their political differences to tamper with the fact that they all had one destiny.
“Nigerians wanted a change, so Buhari must offer that change. They complained of corruption, insecurity and a slow economy. The new helmsman must address these issues.”
Gowon also commended INEC officials, especially the NYSC members, for ensuring the success of the poll. He urged Nigerians to keep that spirit so that democratic governance would come of age.
He praised President Goodluck Jonathan for quickly calling to congratulate the winner, and described that step as a “very soothing balm that ended all fears and anxieties”.
“The president’s gracious congratulation saved Nigeria from violence. That good wish was very timely and saved Nigeria’s democracy,” he said.
“There is no doubt that it set the tone for peace because the situation would have been otherwise if he had remained silent and allowed his supporters to interpret that silence their own way.
“It is something that has never happened in Africa, and definitely not in Nigeria, so we must respect that spirit and challenge other politicians to emulate it.”