For those who had earlier denied that there was no anxiety at the Presidential villa ahead of the pronouncements of the Presidential Elections Tribunal, the jubilations, backslapping and the open show of happiness immediately after the verdict yesterday say otherwise.
The beehive of activity that suddenly greeted the environment cannot be described many state governors, ministers, the leadership of the ruling party (PDP) and top government functionaries, private sector individuals (notable among them Aliko Dangote and Wale Babalakin), heads of parastatals openly embraced each other and some jerking all to celebrate. The only thing missing at the corridor of power was a bottle of champagne and the small chops to go with the celebration.
Protocol also inside the villa was for once kind of relaxed as minutes after President Umaru Yar’Adua and Vice President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had sat down for the impromptu celebration, dignitaries including governors, ministers and aides who before now would have been stopped were allowed into the council chambers. Phones too were ringing with no caution, something that before now was a taboo and can earned you being walked out and the phoned sized. In the spirit of celebration all these were overlooked or ignored.
Even the sacked Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, embattled James Ibori, Ibrahim Idris, Musiliu Obanikoro were all around to celebrate.
Those who before now could hardly knowledge greetings from State House Correspondents and would have to be forced to grant interviews each time they are in the villa, were the first to congratulate the newsmen with stretch hands and even in some cases embrace.
In an impromptu get together to congratulate President and Vice President, Yar’Adua said he welcomed with humility and gratitude to God Almighty yesterday’s affirmation of his election and that of his vice, by the Presidential Elections Tribunal.
He enjoined his opponents to accept the verdict in the greater interest of the country.
The President who dedicated the victory to all Nigerians told the excited members of the audience that the celebration was a victory for the country’s democracy and the rule of law, while thanking his opponents for contributing to the development of democracy in the country and ensuring that it remains on course.
The President stressed that with the verdict, all Nigerians, particularly the leaders owed it a duty to put heads together, cooperate and unite to face great challenges of transforming the country from an under-developed country to a modern developed industrialized country capable of meeting the development and needs of all the citizens.
“I again extend my hand of fellowship, friendship and brotherhood to my brothers who are the petitioners in the case, to join hands with me and the vice president to continue to do what we know best, that is, to serve the people of this country selflessly and diligently”.
Yar’Adua also thanked all Nigerians who he said had remained steadfast in their support for his administration and reaffirmed his total commitment to serving Nigeria to the best of his abilities and running a purposeful and result-oriented administration, which would be beneficial to all Nigerians.
He also reaffirms his commitment to working with all stakeholders to fully address the problems associated with past elections in the country and achieve a positive reformation of Nigeria’s electoral system that will ensure that the problems do not recur in future.