Obasanjo's Victory Speech - 2003


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President Obasanjo's Victory Speech:

 "Triumph of Hope"



Tuesday, April 23, 2003


"Triumph of Hope"

We all owe gratitude to God Almighty for His inestimable love for
our nation as expressed by His guidance of the electoral process so
far and as concluded in the successful election results of the last
two weeks.

I place in God's Almighty hands my personal victory from last
Saturday's Presidential election which has been formally declared by
the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).

By all accounts, last Saturday saw the people of Nigeria turning out
in record numbers to freely, transparently and fairly make their
choice. I am, indeed, humbled by the fact that I am the people's
choice for the President and leader of Nigeria for the next four
years. I am profoundly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the mandate in
which the voting pattern has cut across ethnic, regional, religious
and even partisan lines. By defying the known elements of
divisiveness in our society, the electorate has demonstrably endorsed
my hopes and aspirations for a united, peaceful, strong and
prosperous Nigeria.

On behalf of myself, and on behalf of our great party, the Peoples
Democratic Party, I wish to express my deepest gratitude and most
sincere appreciation to each and every voter who reposed so much
confidence in me by casting his or her vote in my favour. You have
voted for continuity, stability and progress, and I humbly accept the
challenge to consolidate the gains of the last four years while
charting the course to a greater destiny for our nation.

"I equally appreciate the democratic contribution of those who voted
for other contestants, by thus exercising their freedom of choice,
they have strengthened the demcoratic culture that we are trying to
build. The people of Nigeria have spoken, loud and clear, with their
votes. They have voted for one united, harmonious Nigeria and no
leader should deny them their hearts' desire.

I am particularly proud of the manner in which the PDP, after
nominating me as its flagbearer, has put up the brave electoral fight
that underpinned my victory and that of 28 state governors-elect. Let
me congratulate all PDP governors for winning their respective
states. I want those governors to join me in expressing special
appreciation to PDP chairman, who, together with other PDP leaders,
officials and members at the national, state and local government
levels, led the campaign that has once more affirmed PDP's status as
the party for Nigeria, as well as confirm it as Africa's greatest

We salute the gallantry of the candidates from all other political
parties. Their commitment to the electoral process and the
enthusiastic participation of their supporters have enormously
enhanced democracy in Nigeria. There have been losses and gains on
all sides. Good politicians should be good sportsmen, showing
magnanimity and humility in victory, and gallantry and good
naturedness in defeat. You cannot accept victory and reject defeat,
it is ungentlemanly and unsportsmanlike. One must, of course, commend
the sportsmanship of those who conceded their defeat and even
congratulated their victorious opponents. Of course, the electoral
process makes room for seeking redress to complaints or impropriety
through electoral tribunals. The law envisages that there can be
electoral disputes and lays out how they should be handled. But the
ultimate winner in these elections is the Nigerian nation, which has
now gained more strength from the political dynamism of its citizens
for a more secure, more peaceful and more prosperous future.

The public has observed, with considerable satisfaction, that the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has continued to
improve on its management of the electoral process. I hope there will
be further improvements in the elections coming up next week. On
behalf of the entire Nigerian electorate, I commend INEC Chairman,
his fellow commissioners and officials for their perseverance and the
very remarkable performance in circumstances that are far from easy.
Our intention to have a peaceful, free, transparent and fair
elections cannot be in doubt judging by the number of national and
international observers invited without any restriction or limitation
to observe the elections.

Our commendation equally goes to the Inspector General of Police,
his men and women, the officers and men of the Armed Forces, and
other law enforcement agencies, whose vigilance, alertness and
commitment to duty have so far ensured law and order, thus
maintaining relative peace during the period of the elections.

I also acknowledge with satisfaction the valuable contribution of
traditional rulers community elders and leaders, religious leaders,
the media and the civil society organisations, particularly national
and international observers, to the entire electoral process, which
has augmented its peaceful outcome. I must particularly mention the
consistency and enthusiasm of our women and youth in the democratic
process. I thank our Christian and Moslem brothers and sisters who
embarked on ceaseless prayers for peaceful conduct of the elections.
No doubt, almighty God has answered our prayers so far.

Last Saturday's elections may have marked a high-if not the highest-
point in election 2003, but we have not reached the end yet, with
more elections due next week Saturday, 3rd May. Nevertheless, the
progress so far gives us confidence that Election 2003 will, by the
Grace of God, defy the predictions of those who saw calamity in
civilian transition.

All voters last Saturday like the Saturday before, deserve
commendation for their expression of belief in the democratic process
and their patience and tolerance even under an inclement weather. I
was particularly touched by the determination, commitment and
discipline of millions of our brothers and sisters particularly in
the rural areas who patiently queued up for hours to cast their
votes. Our programmes must touch their lives. The experience of these
voters must have convinced most of them that peaceful, free and fair
elections are not only possible in Nigeria, but the best and the only
way to discharge their civic responsibilities and to make Nigeria
great again. We have abiding faith in the people's wish to opt for
peaceful elections. And they have so far proved us right.

Nigeria is impressively on course to the success of Election 2003 as
reasonably free, fair and peaceful. Let us hold this position while
we continue to pray, and to improve on the process and other
elections, and by the Grace of God, when the final elections are
completed, we will be celebrating the firm establishment of democracy
in our country. I am delighted to say that electorally, Nigeria has
come of age. I stretch my hand of fellowship to all my co-
contestants. Let all of us-contestants, losers and winners,
electorate, men and women-join hands in the task of rebuilding and
developing Nigeria.

May God bless Nigeria!



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