Sometime last year, President Goodluck Jonathan gave a verdict on himself and his administration. He declared that, though his government had acquitted itself on several fronts, he, ironically, had received a barrage of tackles and criticisms far more than his predecessors.
Like a prophet, he predicted that before he would leave office, he would become the most celebrated President.
Many people brushed aside the prediction. They wondered what kind of miracle the President would perform in office that would transform him overnight. But Jonathan’s prediction came to pass last week, barely two months to the May 29 expiration of his tenure.
It is no longer news that his ambition to lead the country for another term of four years was aborted last week when he lost the 2015 presidential polls to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
But the President turned his loss into a blessing of sort following his decision to concede defeat and congratulate Buhari long before the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega, finished announcing the results of the polls. The move took Nigerians and the international community by surprise.
The global reaction is understandable. The President’s telephone conversation with Buhari, his critics and supporters would agree, helped to reduce if not erase the palpable tension that had engulfed the country. More surprisingly is the fact that that those who had been shouting “crucify him,” at President Jonathan quickly made a u-turn and hailed him as the true hero of democracy.
An elated Chairman of the National Peace Committee on 2015 Elections, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, at the end of the closed-door meeting with President Jonathan, described the President as a man of his word.
The President had prior and during the election maintained that no blood of any Nigerian was worth his ambition.
The former Head of State noted that Jonathan would go down in history as the first contestant in Nigeria to congratulate his rival on real using that he lost the election. Abubakar urged all Nigerians including those celebrating and sorrowing to join hands with the President to peacefully handover to the next government.
Abubakar said, “We were at the middle of a meeting with the international observers to try to see how we can still water the tension down, when gladly I called Gen. Buhari that we are going to see him, he told me that Mr. President has called him at about 5:15 p.m. and congratulated him and conceded defeat.
“We were spellbound and the reason we have come here is to thank President Jonathan for this statesmanship. In the history of Nigeria I think this is the first time where a contestant has called his rival to congratulate him and through this point, President Jonathan maintained a point that the blood of Nigerians is not worth his presidency and by his action he has proved that. He has proved that he is a man of his word because during our interaction on this peace committee he has always maintained that he is going to accept the result of the elections whichever way it is done. And he has proved this.
“And I think we need Nigerians, all of us to join hands in making sure we assist him in the peaceful handing over. And I will appeal to all politicians, those who are celebrating and those who are sorrowful to give peace a chance to be moderate. In any contest, there is always going to be a winner and President Jonathan has accepted that he lost and we want to thank him.
“On behalf of Nigerians I want to thank President Jonathan for being the statesman that he is, he has approved that he is a statesman and he has the love of this country in his heart. So Nigerians should please help him to ensure this is real.”
The APC which before now never had anything good to say about the President, showered praises on him for conceding defeat and congratulating Gen. Buhari, even before he was formally declared as the winner of the presidential election, by INEC. The opposition party described the President’s action as a rare display of maturity and sportsmanship.
Buhari on his part congratulated President Jonathan for peacefully relinquishing power on Wednesday, a day after becoming the first Nigerian politician to unseat a sitting leader at the ballot box.
The President-elect said “President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him. We have proven to the world that we are people who have embraced democracy. We have put one-party state behind us.”
The deluge of commendation and praises that came to Jonathan were not restricted to the shores of the country alone. The US President Barack Obama, hailed the President a day after the election was formally announced by INEC.
Obama insisted that Jonathan’s action showed “Nigeria’s commitment to democratic principles.”
He said in a White House statement, “President Jonathan has placed his country’s interests first by conceding the election and congratulating president-elect (Muhammadu) Buhari on his victory. I look forward to working with President Jonathan throughout the remainder of his term, and I thank him for his many years of service and his statesmanlike conduct at this critical juncture.”
Elated by the public’s appreciation of his sacrifice Jonathan, who, some have described as the best youth president, posted text of his broadcast to the nation, following INEC’s confirmation of Gen. Buhari victory at the polls on his facebook page.
Not even when former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, was quoted as saying “I Want To Thank President Goodluck Jonathan For Bringing Facebook To Nigeria” at Jonathan’s ‘Facebook’ book launch held on Monday December 20, 2010 at Eko Hotel, Lagos, did it generate so much comments.
As at the time Abuja metro visited his page at 5.43 p.m. Saturday his posts had generated 67,222 likes and 38,718 comments.
Many of the comments saluted President Jonathan, for being statesmanly and making history as the first ever president to concede defeat at a presidential election, describing him as a rare gem.
Culled From DailySun