‘To serve the people’
As I hold this certificate, this moment is one of celebration and gladness for us. The road has been long. Yet, we walked it. The battle has been hard fought. Yet, we won it.
But more importantly, I realize that I am just a servant of a larger purpose. You see, this is more than a document confirming the positive outcome of an election.
This important document symbolises our collective democratic attainment and even loftier aspirations. It represents the impending transfer of a most sacred duty and trust from one person to another.
At its most sublime, this certificate also symbolises that each of you has the ability to achieve what others believe is impossible for you to achieve.
I stand before you as the president-elect. And yes, that is special. But, I am no different than anyone of you.
If I can do this. You can do better. You must do better.
Our destiny as a people and nation depends on our ability to shed the artificial restrictions of bias and prejudice so that we live fully unto our democratic creed that no one is innately superior or entitled to greater rights and opportunities than any other Nigeria.
Very soon, this nation shall witness a young person standing before you holding this great symbol of democracy and national leadership. We shall see a woman standing before you, holding this certificate as its owner. We shall experience someone from a tribe that many people have tried to dismiss as somehow beginning disqualified for this high office.
By dint of hard work, determination and unyielding belief in a noble endeavor, you can achieve the best of things. There are young people listening to me right now who shall one day be the leaders of our precious and exceptional democratic republic.
Thus, by taking this certificate, I assume a sacred duty I shall never ignore.
To you the people, especially the youths, I will work day and night. I will work to the utmost of my ability to make Nigeria better.
For this to be a victory at all, it cannot simply be a victory for one man or even one party. It must become a victory for all Nigerians who are committed to a greater society.
I know many did not vote for me. And you are disappointed that your candidate is not where I now stand.
I understand your hurt. To you, I extend the embrace and comfort of one family member to another.
This great project called Nigeria beckons to us all. It is bigger and more important than any partisan divide. To my supporters, I ask you to continue to have faith in the mission that we have articulated.
To those who didn’t support me, I ask that you not allow the disappointment of this moment to keep you from realising the historic national progress we can make by joining hands and hearts in common endeavor to pull this nation through.
In a phrase, I am asking you to work with me. I may be the president-elect but I need you. More importantly, Nigeria needs you.
My heart and my door are open to you.
I ask you to come in so that we may begin the task of rebuilding our national home together, day by day, brick by brick. Where there is poverty. Let us create prosperity and jobs.
Where there is hunger. Let us feed the people, chasinghunger from their midst. Where there is now scarcity, let us rediscover abundance. Where there is brutality, may we replace it with brotherhood.
Where violence stalks the land, may we establish peace. Where others have erected temples to hatred and bias, may we construct permanent monuments to compassion and abiding affection.
History will record this day as the moment when I officially stood before you as president elect.
However, I would like to dedicate this day and record it as the moment that we vowed to come together to make Nigeria stand and shine forth at the beloved and brave republic God intended it to be.Speech delivered by the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu after collecting his certificate of return from Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, yesterday.