This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Jonathan's Acceptance Speech

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Photo: Maggie Fick
An election official displays poll results to voters.

My dear country men and women. This is a new dawn! Our nation has spoken. At the end of intense and hard fought campaigns by all the political parties, our people spoke through the ballot. In every city, town, village, ward and voting unit, Nigerians stood in the sun, some in the rain, some walked long distances and all waited patiently, to vote.

With a heart full of gratitude to Almighty God, I want to thank Nigerians for the great sacrifice and overwhelming national mandate you have just given to me, to preside over the affairs of this nation for the next four years.

We have, by this election, reaffirmed our unity as one nation under God; reiterated our faith in democracy; and underscored our determination to fully join the free world where only the will of the people is the foundation of governance. We will not let you down. We will not let Nigeria down.

My brothers and sisters, fellow citizens, we are all winners. In this context, there is no victor and no vanquished. Nigerians have proved to the world that we are capable of holding free, fair and credible elections. With the evident national spread of our victory, we have demonstrated that even in our diversity, the progress of Nigeria remains paramount to all.

This is a victory for the sustenance of our democracy; a victory which all Nigerians irrespective of creed, ethnicity, or state of origin should celebrate. It is a triumph for our common destiny as a people with shared ideals, shared dreams and shared hopes.

I congratulate the candidates of the other political parties. I regard them not as opponents, but as partners. Indeed, some of them have held high public office in the past.

Let me pay particular tribute to General Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and the other patriots and their running mates. They all did well and the nation expects their continued demonstration of leadership and commitment to our efforts at nation building.

The elections are not yet over. We still have to elect our Governors and members of our State Houses of Assembly. We must approach the remaining elections with the same level of enthusiasm and seriousness.

We have to remain vigilant. On our part, we continue to assure you that the mechanisms that were put in place to assure free and fair elections are maintained.

When I declared my intention to run for the office of President under the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, I reflected on my humble background and the long journey that brought me to that moment.

Eight months later, I stand before you as the winner of the 2011 Presidential election. I am humbled by your overwhelming mandate.

During that declaration, I said that I had no enemies. Let me say it again, I have no enemies to fight.

Indeed, I reassure all Nigerians that we would continue to run a government that is committed to fairness, equity and justice for all.

The progress we seek for our country is in our collective hands. I am confident that with this new spirit of national reawakening and our sense of collective ownership of the Nigerian project, a firm foundation has been laid for participatory governance and progress.

Together we will build a new economy that is strong and dynamic and underpinned by a patriotic work ethic. Together we will remake our society to emphasize the most noble of our national values, and together we shall recreate a great nation welded in unity and harmony; a nation marching towards collective progress in which no one is left behind.

This election is the renewal of hope. As we march towards our centenary as a nation in the year 2014, this election will be remembered as that which reaffirmed our faith and strengthened the bond of our union. We found within ourselves the basis for our national confidence. We demonstrated that we are making great strides in consolidating democratic governance. This election is further evidence that Nigeria is secure, that we are stable; and most of all, that the future of Nigeria is bright.

Now, we must all unite. We must quickly move away from partisan battlegrounds and find the national common ground. We must show the world that this nation of many people will always find the love, the courage and the path to move forward as one. Let us join hands to build a prosperous nation. This is the challenge of our generation. This is our unfinished task. On my part, I promise to run an all-inclusive government.

It is on this note that I am greatly pained at reports of incidences of unnecessary violence and loss of lives and property in some parts of the country over the past twenty four hours.

I enjoin our political and religious leaders, in their usual sense of patriotism to call on their followers to eschew all acts of bitterness and violence. As I have always stated, nobody's political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.

I thank all the nations of the world, their leaders and our friends for their goodwill. I thank our friends from the national and international media, religious leaders, civil society, voluntary organizations, development partners and our talented diaspora Nigerians that are reporting, monitoring or participating in our elections. We have benefitted from their fair observations.

My special thanks go to all our public services, security agencies, academia, members of the National Youth Service Corps and emergency services. These men, women and youth are making huge sacrifices towards the success of the 2011 elections.

I wish to express my profound thanks to Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo. He brought strength and commitment to our ticket. I am equally grateful to the leadership and members of the PDP; the governors of the 36 states of the Federation; members of the Presidential Campaign Council and all our supporters across the nation for their great sense of dedication, faith and exemplary conduct.

Now is the time for all Nigerians to reach out to their neighbours. I want all of us to join hands in brotherhood, party affiliation or preferred candidate not withstanding. We are all Nigerians and I will President to all. This is the new dawn we crave. What is now required is a new commitment, national solidarity and rededication to service.

Come, join me, let's continue on the road of national transformation.

Let us all thank our merciful God for this day. Let us all continue to pray for God's guidance in the years ahead.

I thank you and May God bless Nigeria.

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