By Kamil Opeyemi
President Muhammadu Buhari and President-Elect Bola Tinubu on Sunday eulogised the maturing and uninterrupted democratic journey of Nigeria since 1999.
Buhari was speaking while addressing African heads of state, members of the diplomat corps and other participants in a Gala Night to mark the 2023 Presidential Inauguration at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The event also marked Nigeria`s seventh consecutive Democratic Transition.
He said that the 2023 general elections was a testimony of Nigerians’ resolve towards deepening their democratic experience.
“Something spectacular happened in our political development where ten serving Governors failed to make it to the senate, this is unprecedented in Nigerian political history for a serving governor to fail to win election in his base.
“But, we should look at it positively; it means Nigerians are very much aware of their powers when there is authority that can make sure that their votes count, how can a serving Governor who served for eight years in his state lose in his constituency to go to the senate.
“This is unprecedented but it happened in Nigeria, I congratulate Nigerians who realise their power that their votes count“ Buhari said.
On his part, Tinubu said the lessons many African nations would take away from Nigeria`s enduring democracy was resilience and courage.
“What lessons has Nigeria`s democracy taught the rest of Africa if not part of the world is resilience, determination, courage and love in diversity despite our tongue and tribes are different.
“Here is a country that has stumbled many times but we never fall apart and we will never break apart, we are just a unique country; we must fight corruption, poverty, inconsistencies in policy and many other problems confronting us.
“But, don’t pity me. I ask for the job, I campaign for it, no excuses, I will leave up to the deal, I promise you,“ Tinubu said.
The President-Elect also assured Nigerians of his determination to deliver on his campaign promises.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Presidential Transition Council, Mr Boss Mustapha, said the event was a symbolic representation of Nigeria`s unity and progress.
“It is an opportunity for us to showcase the vibrant culture, rich heritage and warm hospitality that Nigeria is known for.”
Mustapha said the 2023 Presidential Inauguration was a reflection of Nigeria`s collective commitment to upholding the will of the people and ensure a peaceful transfer of power from one civilian administration to another.
“The seventh consecutive civilian transition in Nigeria is a testament to the resilience and determination of our people to build a democratic society founded on the principles of justice, equality and good governance,“ he said.
The event was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, Ministers, Governors, Senators as well as African heads of state.