A senator-elect from Nigeria’s Rivers State says the strongest and most popular candidate won last week-end’s presidential polls, in which incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] prevailed over his closest rival, General Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change [CPC]. Buhari supporters rioted across parts of the north, saying the vote had been rigged.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan casts his ballot in his home village of Otuoke, Bayelsa state.
“As leaders, we should learn to tell our people the truth,” said Magnus Ngei Abe, a senator-elect for Rivers’ south-east senatorial district. “All of us who are political leaders could see right from the early part of this campaign that [the strength of] the presidential candidate of the CPA, and the CPC itself…has not been established in every part of the country.’’
Abe called President Jonathan’s win “a victory for democracy…for national unity and…for Africa.”
International observers say the poll was Nigeria’s most transparent since the country returned from military rule more than 10 years ago. Many credit the leadership of Attahiru Jega, the head of the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC], which made several changes meant to improve efficiency and reduce mistrust.
“ We have proven in this country that we can actually do things in a manner that is acceptable and respectable,” he said, “and I think that all well-meaning and patriotic citizens …should be grateful to Professor Jega for the kind of credibility he was able to bring to this process,’’ said Abe.
The senator-elect says the challenges facing President Jonathan are well known – and include corruption, economic growth and delivery of social services.
‘’We need to establish discipline in our national life. We need to focus on our economy. To do that, brings you to same old questions of security, power, economics, the better distribution of available resources and available opportunities in such a way that every section of this country will feel a sense of belonging and also be able to make a contribution,’’ he said.