The former Kenyan President has advised the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to reach out to those aggrieved by his victory in the 2023 presidential election and build a more prosperous and unified Nigeria.
Kenyatta stated this on Saturday while delivering his speech as a Guest Speaker at the Presidential Inaugural Lecture held at the State House Conference Centre.
The former Kenyan leader advised the president-elect to ensure his leadership encompassed all citizens, regardless of whether or not they supported him during the election process.
Kenyatta said Tinubu must surround himself with voices that challenge his own, adding that he will lose nothing and gain everything by reaching out across the political, ethnic, and religious lines.
He said: “The contest is now over. And the hard work of building a prosperous and unified Nigeria now begins.
“Upon assuming the office of president, you would be wise to transcend from the tactical politics of an election and assume your role as Nigeria’s vision bearer. This will demand a complete overhaul of the adversarial mindset that we, as politicians, are conditioned to embrace during the electoral process.
“As President, you must learn very quickly to lead those who do not love you and those who love you with equal passion and commitment because you are now the father of all.
“Your Excellency, when countries are in election mode, the people and their leaders are more divided than ever and boxed into their various sectarian and partisan interests. However, when you are the head of state and you take command of the country’s armed forces, you become the embodiment of the sum total of the many different ethnic groups and religions that make up your country, and you become the symbol of unity. Indeed, you have become the face of Nigeria.
“I encourage you to surround yourself with the voices of those who will counterbalance the hardliners that feel entitled to a piece of your office. You will lose nothing and gain everything by reaching out across the political, ethnic, and religious lines.
“To those who may feel aggrieved by your victory in one way or another, please allow them to exhale and be part of your vision for a greater Nigeria.
“It is my hope and my prayer that the lessons from across the continent will give you the resolve to walk the difficult path of overcoming those three enemies.
“I started by mentioning the three enemies of nationhood negative ethnicity, religious discrimination, and corruption. As your fellow African, I look forward to a Nigeria that emerges from this transition, ready to flex and fight for its rightful place on the global stage with both hands at the ready.”