What Buhari told me before I handed over-Jonathan

Last Wednesday’s Capitol riot in the US has triggered reactions and public debates around the world, calling to task the role played by the outgoing President Donald Trump in the allegedly premeditated violence aimed at disrupting the proceedings.

President Trump has been, through his body language, alleged to be indisposed to handing over power to the President-elect Mr Joe Biden who defeated him in the November 2020 presidential elections.

In the course of the cross-fire which trailed the Capitol assault and intention behind it, The Tabloid.net findings revealed similar circumstance in Nigeria in 2015 and dug out what played out between the then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and the Candidate of the leading opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) before Jonathan formally accepted the results of the elections.

According to him, he felt no need to throw the nation into chaos, hence his prompt call and congratulatory message to Buhari without consultation with members of his cabinet and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Apparently taken aback because of the gathering apprehension in the country and possibility of the ruling party following a hard lane, Buhari expressed appreciation to Jonathan and also commended what he called his courage as a statesman.

Before he eventually handed over power to Buhari on May 29, 2015, Jonathan recalled what Buhari told him. “Muhammadu Buhari was the first to commend me saying ‘since that telephone call you made, you have changed the course of Nigeria’s political history. For that, you have earned yourself a place in our history for stabilizing the multi-party democratic system. You have earned the respect of not only Nigerians, but also world leaders. You could have made things difficult if you wanted to,” he said.

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In contrast to a section of analysts who saw Jonathan as a weakling that lacked liver to dare the opposition forces, Jonathan stated that he was too mindful of the fate of the Southerners resident in the Northern Nigeria, should he query the results of the elections despite that he had evidence to do so.

Specifically, he remembered the incident of malfunction card reader at his ward in his Otuoke hometown, a circumstance which could have armed him to raise an eyebrow. But he chose to close his eyes to it and allowed the conduct of the elections, according to him, for the sake of a peaceful country.

“The multiple massacres which characterized the aftermath of the 2011 elections were still fresh in memory. I was neither willing nor ready to look grieving children and parents in the eye and explain to them that they lost their loved ones because of leadership struggle. Already, some Nigerian citizens and external forces had plans that were not good for our country,” he said.

Jonathan, in his My Transition Hours, expressed his surprise by the goodwill messages he received from regional and global leaders for his actions which enabled a smooth transfer of power and inauguration of President Buhari on May 29, 2015, adding that he has no regret for saving Nigeria from impending imbroglio.

Reminiscing his experience during the 2011 elections, Jonathan alleged that the opposition made spurious promises to the youths, cashing in on their known capacity limitation. To address the youths’ limitation, he said, he built Almajiri schools with a view to liberating the mind of the youths to do, think, act and react to issues independently.

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The former president then charged Nigerian leaders at all levels of governance to embrace attitudinal change in addition to rhetorical change with which they are noted within and outside the shores of Nigeria.

“I believe that politics should be pursued with a reasonable degree of enlightenment and patriotism which requires honesty and transparency. Making fanciful promises falls out of line of these requirements. You would either be lying to a people you should be telling the whole truth or you lacked the capacity to figure at the status of your country’s economy ahead of the possibility of your leadership,” he counseled.

It was gathered that Jonathan had since been assigned international duties reserved for respected former presidents. He is the current chairman of International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP) after his emergence in June 2020 at ‘Africa Summit and Leaders Conference 2019’ in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In his address at the conference, he spoke on need for the African Union (AU) to show more interest in integrity of officials assigned to conduct elections, declaring that doing so would boost confidence of the electorate in electioneering process.

He urged the AU to set up a team of electoral experts to study different models and recommend the system they consider best for the continent, adding that neutrality of law enforcement agencies is a key element of transparent elections.

“It is also important that the African Union should establish a code of conduct guiding security officials in charge of elections. All these recommendations should be accommodated in AU’s procedures for elections that should serve as guidelines for election observers,” he proposed.

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Also, in July 2020, he was in Mali as head of the mediation team of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in resolving internal political crisis in the country. He returned to Nigeria and headed to the Presidential Villa, where he briefed Buhari the outcome of his mission.

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