By G9ija

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the President-elect, downplayed the prospects of a government of national unity on Thursday, indicating his preference for a government of national competence that prioritizes merit over political arrangement.

Tinubu expressed his intention to select cabinet members based on their competence rather than their religion, and stated that his vision for the government was higher than simply pursuing a unity arrangement.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was recently declared as the President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission, released his first official statement on Thursday titled “Nigeria: At the Cusp of Renewed Hope.”

Addressing Nigerians on the issue, the president-elect in the statement said, “As your incoming president, I accept the task before me. There have been talks of a government of national unity. My aim is higher than that. I seek a government of national competence. In selecting my government, I shall not be weighed down by considerations extraneous to ability and performance.

“The day for political gamesmanship is long gone. I shall assemble competent men and women and young people from across Nigeria to build a safer, more prosperous and just Nigeria. There shall be young people. Women shall be prominent. Whether your faith leads you to pray in a church or mosque will not determine your place in government. Character and competence will.’’

Tinubu also commented on the recent presidential election, acknowledging that while some individuals had faulted its conduct, a fair and credible poll was held and won.

He said, “A fair, credible election has been held and has been won. The honour of that victory and the steep responsibility it entails has fallen on me. I say this not to gloat or boast because there is no room for such behaviour. I merely state the facts as they are. I realise many good and well-meaning Nigerians voted for other candidates.

“They are naturally disappointed that their favoured candidate did not win. Other candidates have voiced their dissatisfaction, stating they will go to court to contest the election. This is inherent to the democratic process. We defend their right to seek legal recourse. While they exercise the legal rights afforded them in our democracy, I have set my course and mind on the leadership of this nation. We have important work to do and I am committed to getting that work done for the benefit of all the people, whether or not they voted for me or even voted at all.’’

The president-elect said, “There have been times in our past when our governing institutions created more questions than they answered. But the arc of our political history gives me confidence that we can overcome that past. We have walked through the thick of the night to emerge into the light of brighter days to come. There is no good reason to retreat into the darkness of years past.’’

Urging nation rebuilding and repair, he said, “We must begin to repair and rebuild this national home of ours. There is time to complete the task, but time is also of the essence. We must not tarry or fret over the enormity of what we face. We are able of mind and body. Now, we must show the spirit and willpower to accomplish the historic things that lie within our grasp.’’

Tinubu explained, “We have bridges and roads to build not just for commerce and travel but to connect people of different faiths, parties and different outlooks in harmonious dialogue and common purpose. We have families to feed not just to eliminate hunger but to nurture enlightenment, civic responsibility and compassion. We have jobs to create not merely to put people to work but to afford a better standard of living by which families and communities are improved and democracy deepened. We have water to replenish not just to quench physical thirst but to ignite a thirst for creative and better solutions to society’s challenges.

Tinubu further expressed support for the Supreme Court’s ruling that the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned notes until December 31.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, led by Godwin Emefiele, had redesigned the naira notes, but had ignored the Supreme Court’s order, leading to frustration and hardship for bank customers due to the scarcity of the new notes.

Tinubu stated that an important step toward restoring economic normalcy was taken by the Supreme Court’s decision on the parity of old and new notes, adding that “This restores both the rule of law and economic decency. But this is not the end of the story. It is merely the beginning of a more comprehensive solution to our economic challenges.’’ he added.