The immediate past President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has given reasons why he had to concede victory to President Muhammadu Buhari, during the 2015 presidential elections, while the election results were still being collated.
Jonathan said that having helped to stabilise democracy in four other West African countries including Niger, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Cote d’Ivoire, he decided to leave a stable country by ensuring peaceful transition of power in his belief that his “political ambition was not worth the blood of one Nigerian.”
Jonathan made this known at the Bloomberg Studios Event Space, London, United Kingdom.
In his speech entitled, Civis Nigerianus Sum- (I am a citizen of Nigeria), Jonathan pledged to channel his energies towards upholding democratic principles, promoting peaceful political transitions and supporting citizen entrepreneurship and intra-Africa trade through the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation.
The former President also said that his administration fought corruption in the areas of finance, agriculture and petroleum and was able to drastically reduce the menace in the agricultural sector with the help of a simple mobile phone, adding that, “Our ambition to sanitize the corruption in petroleum subsidies by completely deregulating the sector was frustrated by unhealthy political resistance.”
His words, “Since leaving office one year and one week ago, I have had the luxury of time to reflect on the future of my great country, Nigeria.
So, today is not about my personal memories or a litany of ‘what ifs’. No! Today I would like to share with you what I believe is the key learning from my experiences for the future of democracy not only in Nigeria but across the entire continent of Africa.
“I said before the last election that my political ambition was not worth the blood of one Nigerian.
I was true to my word when on March 16, 2015, just after the election, when the results were still being collated by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, I called my opponent, General Muhammadu Buhari, rtd, to concede, in order to avoid any conflict and ensure a peaceful transition of power.
“This was without precedent in my country and I am proud that it achieved my goal of no conflict arising from the result of the election.
“Some may think, it is ironic that perhaps my proudest achievement was not winning the 2015 presidential election.
“By being the first elected Nigerian leader to willingly hand over power via the ballot box, to the opposition party; without contesting the election outcome, I proved to the ordinary man or woman in the country that I was his or her equal.
“That his or her vote was equal to mine and that democracy is the government by the will of the people, and that Nigeria, and indeed Africa is ripe for democracy. It is my sincerest wish that democracy is being consolidated in the continent of Africa and it will even get better.
“For it has always been my consistent desire to help consolidate peace and cultivate democracy in Nigeria and across the continent.
“In fact, it was the key foreign policy objective of my administration when we were able to help broker peace and restore democracy in Niger, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Cote d’Ivoire.