Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, yesterday declared that those who predicted that Nigeria will breakup this year because of the dreaded general elections had been put to shame.
He praised Nigerians for their peaceful conduct during the March 28 presidential poll, which was won by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Gowon said that the conduct of the elections and their outcomes had shamed doomsayers that Nigeria would breakup this year.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN in Jos, Plateau State that, “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.” According to him, those who made the prediction did not reckon with Nigeria’s ability to solve its problems.
Gowon continued: “The country 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.”
He said that he was happy that the polls were rated free and fair by both local and international observers and praised the electorates for their patience and resilience.
The former Head of State said that he visited polling units in Asokoro, Karu, Nyanya, Maitama and Wuse in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and remarked that the people came out early and waited for Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC officials who came late.
Gowon said: “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,” he said.
He praised President Goodluck Jonathan for promptly calling Buhari to congratulate him, and described his action 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.
“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,” he said.
Gowon urged Buhari to listen to Nigerians and do their bidding.
“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,” he said.