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Nigeria fortunate to have had former President Jonathan as leader — Mahama, Atiku

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Igwe Achebe; Yakubu Gowon; John Mahama; Goodluck Jonathan; Boni Yayi and Ernest Bai Koroma

By Salisu Sani-Idris

Former President of Ghana, John Mahama, says ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is more of an academic who found himself in politics.

He said this at the public presentation and formal launching of a book title “My Transition Hours” by Jonathan that “I was not surprised when Jonathan conceded defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015”.

Mahama said Jonathan approached leadership in a relaxed manner and that was why he left a good legacy worthy of emulation by all leaders in Africa.

The former Military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, said Nigeria was not at war today because of the decision by Jonathan to concede defeat during the 2015 general elections.

” We cannot thank you enough for the peace we are having in the country today; for the peaceful transition we had when you freely and voluntarily conceded defeat.

” By your decision, you have shown that you love your country more than you love power,” he said.

The Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said Nigeria was fortunate to have a selfless leader like the former President.

He said that the decision of Jonathan to concede defeat in 2015 had helped to consolidate democracy not only in Nigeria but on the African continent.

Abubakar also said that Nigerians and Africans would continue to remain grateful to Jonathan for upholding national interest at the expense of his personal interest.

The book was authored by the ex-president to recount his last moment of decision to concede power to President Buhari, congratulating him on the victory even when collation of results were still ongoing in 2015 presidential election.

Jonathan, at the event, expressed concern over increased incidences of vote buying in the country, ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Jonathan expressed his concern at the public presentation and formal launch of a book — “My Transition Hours” by Jonathan.

He said that vote buying, which was gradually replacing other forms of electoral malpractices, had become scandalous and placed the country in bad light.

He pointed out that voters inducement through engraving of pictures of candidates and political party logos on gift items during elections was another rampant strategy of vote buying.

He advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to borrow a leaf from other African countries and create polling centres in public places such as schools where classrooms were used for voting to make it difficult for vote buying.

He explained that the book he launched was essentially an account of happenings during the 2015 general elections and the events that made him to place a phone call to President Muhammadu Buhari, which doused tension and ensured peaceful transition from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Party (APC).

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, saluted Jonathan for his statesmanship, sportsmanship and uncommon courage of conceding defeat to Buhari in 2015 when collation was still on.

Saraki said that the act of accepting defeat by Jonathan helped to stabilise the already charged political atmosphere during the elections.

He recalled how Jonathan used to vow that his ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian and called on political leaders to toe the same path and should not look at elections as declaration of war as the 2019 polls approached.

On his part, former President Olusegun Obasanjo who was Chairman of the occasion, also hailed the statesmanship disposition of Jonathan and urged him to remain committed to his residual responsibility of continuous service to his immediate community, Nigeria, Africa and beyond.

According to Obasanjo, there is no substitute to democracy as it unifies the people.

He said that Nigeria had the responsibility to unify West Africa, Africa and the black race across the world.

Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, also thanked Jonathan for conceding defeat in 2015 to save Nigeria from impending war and consolidating democracy not only in the country but the entire African continent.

He also applauded Jonathan for his role in fostering unity, peace, progress and strengthening democratic rule in Africa, saying “Goodluck Jonathan is a good man and when the history of democracy in Africa is written, his name will be etched in gold”.

The book launch was graced by hundreds of prominent Nigerians, including
The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Sen. Dino Melaye, former Gov. Attahiru Bafara of Sokoto State, ex-Vice President Namadi Sambo, ex-PDP governors, ministers and many members of the political class, traditional rulers and members of the diplomatic corps.