Former president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has revealed why he called to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari while the presidential election results were still being collated. Jonathan made this disclosure while speaking at a dinner hosted in his honour by Cercle Diplomatique in Geneva, Switzerland. In his words, “I was actually in that valley on March 28, 2015. I never knew that the human brain had the capacity for such enhanced rapid thinking. One hundred and one things were coursing through my mind every second. My country was at the verge of collapse. The tension in the land was abysmally high and palpable, in the months and days leading to the election.
“The country became more polarized more than ever before, such that the gap between the North and the South and between Christians and Muslims became quite pronounced. In fact, it became so disturbing that some interest groups in the United States began to predict that Nigeria would disintegrate in 2015. And, indeed, many Nigerians did buy into this doomsday prophesy as they began to brace themselves for the worst.
“As the President, I reminded myself that the Government I led had invested so much effort into building our country. I worked hard with my top officials to encourage Nigerians and non-Nigerians to invest in our country to be able to provide jobs and improve the lives of our people. We worked hard to grow our economy and to improve and bring Nigeria up as the biggest economy in Africa, with a GDP of about half a trillion dollars.
“Should I then, for the love of power, watch Nigeria slide into a theatre of war, with my fellow country men and women dying, and many more pouring into other nations in Africa and beyond, as refugees? Should I hang on to power and tussle with my challengers, while the investments of hard working citizens of the world go down the drain? I then said to myself, NO!
“I promised my God that I will not let that fate befall Nigeria under my watch, hence the historic telephone call I put through to congratulate my challenger even when the results were still being tallied. I believe that for a country to be great, both the leaders and the led must be prepared to make sacrifices. This is why, everywhere I go, I always advise that the new generation of African leaders must think differently.
“We can no longer afford to wilfully sacrifice the blood of our citizens on the altar of dangerous partisan politics. It is not worth it. This reminds me of one of my campaign statements to the effect that my ambition was not worth the shedding of the blood of any Nigerian. Some people took it then as mere political slogan but I knew that I meant it when I said it. We must all fight for the enthronement of political stability in Africa, for in it lies the panacea for sustainable growth and development.
“For Africa to record the kind of advancement that will be competitive and beneficial to our citizens, we must have stable states supported by strong institutions. That appears to be the irreducible minimum that is common to all developed societies. Africa’s political odyssey can distinctly be categorised into three eras, and probably another that would later signpost its classification as a developed continent”.