Today, I would like to say THANK YOU. So many deserve gratitude on this momentous occasion of change in Nigeria.
THANK YOU, God! Thank You for keeping Nigeria One and whole and for putting our detractors to shame at this time. Thank You for answering the prayers of millions of your faithful followers who got on their knees to lift this nation up to You. Thank you for honouring Your people.
THANK YOU, President-elect Muhammadu Buhari for ignoring those who foresaw failure for you (myself inclusive) and decided to run for this prestigious yet cumbersome office. You had a good campaign and an excellent manifesto. Thank you for making us believe in the power of real campaigning rather than ‘stomach infrastructure’. A word aside though…even as we thank you, we give you a warning: DO NOT let us down. If you do, we will – I repeat – we will vote you out. We voted you in, so you owe us BIG TIME! Include the opposition in your government to ensure equity and balance and give us a government we can be proud of.
THANK YOU, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for your graciousness in conceding defeat. Thank you for showing true statesmanship and proving that you are indeed a true democrat. Thank you for quieting the potential chants of war among those who believe they should fight for you. Thank you for putting Nigeria first and yourself second. History will remember you as the President who truly respected Democracy and ushered Nigeria into a new age where votes really do matter. Thank you for the good you have done, and we wish you the very best in your future endeavours.
THANK YOU, Professor Attahiru Jega, for conducting one of the fairest and freest elections this nation has ever taken part in. Thank you for your patience, innovation and your integrity and strength. Thank you for keeping your cool when the rest of us could have lost ours. Thank you for not bowing to pressure, and for showing that your love for Nigeria was foremost in your mind. We truly hope to see more of you in the future.
THANK YOU, INEC staff, volunteers and election officers, for your tireless, thankless and often dangerous foray into nervous, hungry and often angry crowds to count votes, stand for hours without food or water, braving the elements and even the people as you oiled the wheels of democracy. We appreciate you and we cannot thank you enough for all you gave up for this nation.
THANK YOU to the NIGERIAN ARMY and our heroic allies – Chad, Niger and Cameroun for your bravery in fighting insurgents and securing our borders. Thank You to all our security officials for ensuring that there was peace and order at this crucial time.
THANK YOU to the campaign staff of all parties who lobbied, spoke, argued, and stood by their preferred candidates. Thank you all you bloggers, tweeters, Facebookers, and the rest for standing for your parties on all platforms. You made this an interesting run and the information you provided helped us to make better choices.
THANK YOU to EVERY SINGLE VOTER in Nigeria. You are ALL heroes, regardless of whom you voted. You came out in your numbers, braved the elements and stood in long lines for long hours just to cast that vote. Thank You for coming out despite challenges with your health, age, security, circumstances and beliefs, and voting for a better Nigeria for yourselves and your children. Thank you for believing enough in democracy and Nigeria to take a risk and vote. Thank you for being so patient, for finding ways to laugh and bond with fellow Nigerians at the polling units and rising above religious, tribal or partisan differences. Thank You for using your PVC as a weapon rather than guns or knives. Thank You for voting on behalf of your brothers and sisters who are displaced and disenfranchised all over this nation. Thank You for your resilience, your smiles…and your memes on social media! You are important and your vote is important. Never forget that.
I suppose I must also say THANK YOU to all of those who predicted doom and disintegration for Nigeria. Thank you for giving us a chance to prove you absolutely wrong. Thank you for coming with your bulletproof vests so we could show you that you don’t need them. Thank you for portraying us with terrible headlines full of ‘violence’, ‘mars’, ‘disaster’ and other such words and challenging us to change the narrative and stereotype. Thank you for showing the world that Nigeria is a great nation with good people…and that Africa is NOT a country. I hope that you can take the time to join us as we celebrate and enjoy cold malt with some suya and nkwobi.
Last but not least, THANK YOU to every single soul who passed away so we could get here. Thank You to the INEC Polling Officer gunned down in Gombe. To Bello in Bauchi. To the 13,000 killed by Boko Haram. To those who gave their lives to protect democracy. THANK YOU to the Chibok girls: we haven’t forgotten you and we still hope for your return. Thank you all for bringing about a sense of unity in Nigerians and making us see beyond our petty differences. ALL our kidnapped, murdered and displaced brethren have brought about a new sense of purpose; a determination that we will NEVER again allow such evil to permeate our land. We will not. Your blood and tears have not been shed in vain.
BRAVO NIGERIA! VIVA THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!
THANK YOU! ESE O! DAALU! MUN GODE! EMBANA! AGBA! MIYETTI! ZIGWAI!
Written by Sifa Asani Gowon