How Jonathan, Attahiru Jega saved Nigeria, by Buhari, others

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• ‘Ex-president shamed prophets of nation’s break-up’

Nigeria would have disintegrated along ethnic and political lines but for the patriotic zeal of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Prof. Attahiru Jega, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday in Abuja.

Jonathan is the immediate past president who handed over power to Buhari, while Jega was the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when Buhari won the 2015 presidential election.

President Buhari said the commitment to democratic ideals exhibited by political players in the 2015 presidential election shamed prophets of doom who had predicted that Nigeria would disintegrate.

He stated that the success of the 2015 election also contributed to deepening democracy in the country and made the people to have faith in the electoral system, believing that their votes could actually count.

Buhari, who spoke after being conferred with the award of “Leadership Person of the Year” by Leadership Newspapers in Abuja, specifically identified Jonathan and Jega as the critical stakeholders who made the election a success.

Buhari who was honoured alongside Jonathan and Jega as “Leadership Persons of the Year” said: “The events of 2015 which the Leadership Newspaper has chosen to bring to the fore today, marked a watershed in the political history of our country.

“Those of us who were participating actors in the elections were led by the higher ideal of the future of our great country and the well being of our people rather than the mere desire of politicians to win elections.

“It is, therefore, our commitment to this ideal, the patriotic zeal of President Jonathan, the impartiality of the electoral umpire, INEC, and exemplary conduct of the political parties, foreign pressure and other actors that we collectively disappointed the prophets of doom who had predicted the disintegration of the country after the 2015 general elections.

“Our democracy has been strengthened by the outcome of the 2015 elections as our people now have more faith in the electoral system in the sense that their votes would count when choosing political leaders at various levels. We, the political class should build on the experience of the 2015 elections to nurture our democracy.”

In his opening remarks earlier, former military leader, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd), who served as the chairman of the event commended the awardees for their roles in the elections. He urged Nigerians to be proud of the three leaders.

In his speech titled “Half full, not half empty,” Abubakar enjoined Nigerians to celebrate their nation in the light of the outcome of the election, noting that many countries had been thrown into violence after elections. He said their effort as members of the National Peace Committee would have come to naught without the collective cooperation of the three leaders.

“Our efforts would have been in vain if President Buhari and former President Jonathan were not willing to cooperate with us and think about Nigeria first or if Prof. Jega had failed to perform his statutory role well.

“We must all embrace this standard set by them and ensure that the labour of our heroes’ past are not in vain. We must ensure peace because if there is no peace, there is no country,” he said.

The Chairman of Leadership Newspapers, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, in his welcome address said the three men were deserving of the awards due to their critical roles in the election.

He recalled the mood of the country as the results of the election were being collated, submitting that Jonathan’s decision to concede defeat saved the country a gargantuan crisis that would have claimed about 10,000 lives.

“Today’s event is basically to celebrate our democracy because there is a hell of a lot to celebrate. It is easy to forget the fright, trepidation and panic that attended the buildup to the 2015 presidential election and how several doomsday pundits concluded that the election might spell the end of Nigeria as we know it. The tension was so high that the United States president felt so genuinely concerned that he had to address Nigerians in a televised broadcast in the fashion that colonial powers used to address their colonies.

“A few thought there was no way we could get out of the presidential election alive as a country. And there was actually the augury for such dire doomsday prophecy.”

In his reaction to the event, Bayelsa State governor Seriake Dickson said only Jonathan should take the credit for conceding defeat in the presidential election.

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  • Basil Ogbanufe

    Yes, only Goodluck Ebele Jonathan deserves the credit.

    But Nigeria will still disintegrate, and by peaceful means. This is the best way forward for the peoples of Nigeria.

    • Ola

      Especially if the murderous cattle rearers are not stopped

    • Mike Adex

      I think this is the quote “…only Jonathan should take the credit for conceding defeat in the presidential election”. The former president conceded defeat without consultations. Probably all those close to him would have advised him against it and would have thrown the country into anarchy. He deserves that credit alone

  • efada acha

    But hope Buhari will toe the same path when the time comes?

    • Okpomo

      The signs that he will not are already visible. The recent Edo election is a pointer.

  • Ola

    Reminds one of the old bromide story of the little boy who plucked out the plum stuck in his teeth and made a remark “What a smart boy I am!”
    This is just a start. We should celebrate if it becomes a tradition.

  • frforka

    We could call Jonathan a weak President but he created a fair playground. He had respect for the rule of law. He desisted from influencing election results. The question then is: Will the present president maintain this status quo and strengthen the fibers of democracy the more? I am not yet convinced.

    • Marcus Ijele

      Jonathan is not weak. He is not a weak person. A peace loving person is always mistaken to be a weak person. Buhari is said to be strong because he loves oppression. Wisdom is greater than weapons of war. Jonathan is the strongest person in this country by his quantum of wisdom. He is an embodiment of wisdom and that is a powerful tool for defeating any enemy. You can never know the weapons of such a person stored in his armory, but for Buhari, he has nothing left than ”I will spill the blood of bulls and dogs”, ”I will deal with this and that”. This forms the reasons why he can not succeed neither in stopping Niger Delta Militants nor as a President. Strength is not by making noise and intimidating people as Buahri is doing. As you rightly asked, while he congratulates Jonathan’s peace loving disposition and being humble enough to hand over to him, even when it was obvious Buhari claimed victory by terrorism, does he have the mind to learn and tell his followers to learn from Jonathan? Is he not euphemistically telling us that he would have turned this country into a war theater if Jonathan had not meekly handed over to him? Is he not indirectly saying that he Buhari can not do that? Why is he saying that the country was saved from disintegration as Jonathan handed power to him? Is he talking like somebody who will accept defeat come 2019 when he will be defeated?The strongest man is not the one who drums the drum of war but the one who toes the part of peace and self denial. Buhari should be taught how to be peaceful and not piece-full.

      • frforka

        No, that is a misunderstanding. I do not mean ‘weakness’ in that sense. I do not also imply that Buhari is ‘strong’. With regard to leadership, decision making, being forceful towards resisting oppositions to good policies and tackling problems headlong, Jonathan was weak. He could be a good man but I do not pass him for a good leader. This does not in the least confirm Buhari as a good replacement. During the 2015 election, it was my opinion that the two options of Jonathan and Buhari were not good enough for the country.

        • amador kester

          None of your analysis both did identify the yet unmitigated major problem of this nation.. Solve that problem and others will follow suit since problem solving begins from general principles down to the specifics for instance if you found that some youths were arrested for the breach of peace there is the option of arraigning them before a magistrate but you only end up jailing five youths while tomorrow other cases of breach of the piece continue,or you give them five strokes of cane each by elders or police ,civil defence or navy or whatever but you end up with some corporal punishment while problem continues. But an articulate umpire would first ask: what causes youths to breach the peace? Is it unemployment or wrong upbringing or bad friends or social media or bad govt policies? He makes research ,finds the answer, makes recommendations for implementation thus saving thousands of youths from breaching the peace, if these are implemented. In other words one problem should find solution to thousands of similar problems. The same thing goes for national problem.What lessons did nigeria learn from the jonathan saga,both good and bad? What are we learning from buhari,s administration too plus others before it? Can we intelligently extrapolate what is really wrong with the nation and whats needs be done? Have we not really been like this or thereabouts for 50 or more odd years? Has time not played a fast one on us without our knowing it? How do we break the vicious cycle of sociopolitical and economic intractibility? I leave it to your fertile imagination to derive solutions bordering on sustainability

  • Full blooded Nigerian

    Dickson is just a baby. Why didn’t he organise his won award ceremony and call Jonathan to be the sole awardee. Some people areally just narrow minded.

  • Tayomi

    Yes, he has the credit. But we should learnt from that singular sacrifice and behave well in our national polity.

  • vincentumenyiora

    My take about this matter is like that child beatten by parents and they refuse him to cry, folks! I have written times without numbers now what I did to re-activate – bring back to life the use of ‘Option A-4 through Peter Obi as Governor of Anambra State in 2009 – 10 election and how he took the idea to the President then! I don’t want it to be regarded as disrespect but the announcement then was for Nigerians home or abroad to submit solutions for the political and economic problems in Nigeria and I did exactly as directed single handedly – only to see or observe now that my solutions were taken and handed to Professors who now benefit from it as Commissioners for INEC leaving me out of the equation! I am asking Nigerians and President Buhari in particular, is this action fair? I have even mentioned names of those who have copy of my publication including OBJ, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Prof. J. Gana, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and host others you can find on the Icon in my website page [2] to confirm or rebuff this claim none has done this! I even hav a note from the High Commission for this matter submitted in October 2014 to the SGF’s office at ABUJA acknowledged! I am asking what next do they want me to do about this matter?

    I am saying can somebody look into this matter; I have been advised to go to the Courts and I said I did not supply the solution when I did with the aim of going to the Court or Judiciary to resolve whose is the author of it recalling the public invitation by the Heads of State to Nigerians to act! I did not think it’ll be matter for Court litigation, folks!