From left: Former Head of State, retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon; Former Ghanaian President, John Mahama; Wife of the Author/former First Lady Patience Jonathan; Author of the book, former President Goodluck Jonathan; Former Benin President, Boni Yayi; and former Sierra- Leone President, Mr. Ernest Koroma, during the launch of a book titled ‘My Transition Hours’ by former President Jonathan in Abuja yesterday
You will rise again, Buhari tells former president
Gowon, Obasanjo, Abdusalami, Mahama, others speak
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has recounted how his opponents used the Boko Haram insurgency, abduction of Chibok schoolgirls and fuel subsidy to throw him out of power in 2015.
Jonathan spoke during the launch of his book titled, “My Transition Hours” in Abuja yesterday.
“Whenever I travel out and even at home, people ask me, ‘why did you concede defeat?’ ‘Why did you make that phone call?’ ‘Why didn’t you go to court?’ That is one of the reasons I felt like writing the book. The book focuses mainly on the election.
“There are certain issues in government that were used against me during the elections; the issue of Boko Haram and Chibok girls. Some people even said I brought Boko Haram to reduce the voting population of the North so that I will win the election. I commented on the Chibok girls.
“Also the fuel subsidy that was really used by, of course, politicians must explore opportunity. So I don’t blame them, even I myself, I would probably have explored the same opportunity. But I needed to explain why we took that decision,” Jonathan said.
The former president asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to introduce measures in the electoral process that would stop the practice of vote buying saying the issue is becoming scandalous in Nigeria.
“But those are still not considered as serious offences. In all the African countries I have gone to observe elections even at the rally, nobody will give you a pen with the candidate’s name on it. All what the candidates and their parties can do is the t-shirts, banners and others but not any other gift.
“But in Nigeria, if you don’t provide gift, it’s like you have not started. In the early sixties, people did that; they were going to our villages to give salt and all that, and we just graduated from inducing the electorate to pricing and buying of votes.”
The governor also purchased 1,000 copies of the books and donated the sum of N5 million monthly grant for the foundation.
The event was attended by many personalities including, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, General Yakubu Gowon, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, among others. Former military president Ibrahim Babangida was represented by his daughter, Aisha.
The book launch, which coincided with Jonathan’s 61st birthday, was attended by his wife, Patience, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and his PDP counterpart, Uche Secondus.
You will rise again, Buhari tells Jonathan
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said his immediate predecessor Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will rise again and that his best days were still ahead.
Buhari’s remark at the launch of “My Transition Hours “, a book written by Jonathan was greeted by thunderous ovation by all present at the venue.
“I want to openly as I have done on several occasions salute the statesmanship, sportsmanship and courage embodied in the person of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who in 2015 without any pressure willingly conceded victory to me even when collation of result was still in progress.
“Your Excellency, your singular act of placing a call to me doused and calmed frayed nerves all over the country and I sincerely thank you for being a true democrat and a patriotic Nigerian,” he said.
He restated that in the run up to the 2015 election, he and Jonathan were parties to a common purpose to ensure that the 2015 general elections were violent-free and credible.
The president said the accomplishment of that objective has placed Nigeria as a leader in the development of democracy in Africa.
“To underscore his desire for peace and nonviolence, Jonathan kept reiterating that no Nigerian blood should be shed for his ambition. With this book being launched today (yesterday), Nigerians, historians and scholars now have a first-hand account and an insight into what transpired during the transition hours.
“It is difficult for any citizen to imagine what went through the mind of Dr. Jonathan during those lonely lone hours when varieties of counsels for and against were being offered. History has recorded your time as Nigerian’s fifth democratically elected leader since independence. History will judge you well as a patriotic leader,” he said.
He said in the last three and a half years, his administration has demonstrated that service to Nigerians transcend party line and political affiliations.
The President said, “In approximately 88 days from today Nigerians will be exercising their civic duty of electing new leaders in another general elections. I call on all political leaders to see elections as a contest based on principles, programmes and aspirations that will uplift the nation. Elections should never become a declaration of war, rather it should cement our brotherliness and nationhood.”
Thanking Jonathan for documenting his experience, Buhari urged political leaders to eschew bitterness, violence, hate speeches, falsehood and bigotry.
Democracy must not be left for hooligans – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised Nigerians not to allow the country’s democracy in the hands of non-democrats and hooligans.
Obasanjo said for Nigeria to continue to play its leading role in West Africa, Africa and the Black world, its democracy must be allowed to foster peace and unity.
“It unifies rather than divide if democracy is found as an instrument in the hands of democrats. If it is in the hands of those, I call thieves, hooligans in politics, it can be a dangerous weapon. So, we must avoid hooligans to have access to this beautiful weapon because they might abuse and misuse it,” he said.
He commended President Jonathan for his exemplary leadership to Nigeria and the life of exit from office, and urged him to continue in his responsibility for his community, state, country and Africa and the world.
Obasanjo explained that there are four seasons for a democratic politician.
“The first is when you start campaigning and go round to seek for votes, then the election comes and you win. The second season is when you take up office and all is going well, then suddenly there is ups and down, of course you came in with high popularity that’s why you are able to win election, but as you go on the popularity start to dwindle, until either you come to the expiration of your time or you lose election.
“Now the beginning of the third season, it does not matter who you are, immediately you leave office you will have lost friends, particularly the fair whether friends, and that is a very tight period for anybody who has been elected before. Then the fourth is when you weather the storm, until you start to pick up again,” he added.
Abdusalami, Atiku, Mahama, Sambo, laud Jonathan
Former Head of State, Abdusalami Abubabkar, has lauded former President Goodluck Jonathan for his courage in conceding the 2015 presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, by conceding the 2015 presidential election, Jonathan demonstrated that he loves Nigeria more than power.
“You made history by saying you love Nigeria more than you love power.
“We congratulate you for honorably conceding defeat in 2015. You not only became a good example for Nigeria but also to Africa,” Abdusalami said.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar said at the occasion that Jonathan’s singular action of conceding defeat in 2015 helped to safeguard the nation’s democracy.
Former president of Ghana, Dr. John Mahama, said Jonathan remains a lesson to other African leaders that “power is transient,” and that “we must leave power one day.”
He said the name of the former president would be written in gold for what he did to Nigeria’s democracy.
Namadi Sambo, former vice president to Jonathan, described his former boss as a gentleman who loves merit.
Sambo said, “I know Jonathan as a gentleman that is simple and civilized, and a detribalized Nigerian. He made many appointments on merit, including the former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega.”
Jonathan saved Nigeria’s democracy – Gowon
In his remarks, former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, lauded Jonathan for conceding the 2015 presidential election, which “saved Nigeria’s democracy,” as “he never wanted anybody to die.”
Gowon, who saluted Jonathan on his 61st birthday and the launch of his memoir, told the ex-president, “You never wanted anybody to die.”
“I was in African Union congress in 2015, and there was fear and serious concerns about Nigeria’s elections. But at the end of the day, the news was that Jonathan had conceded.
“There was jubilation everywhere. Jonathan did something: he saved Nigeria’s democracy because he never wanted anybody to die. You saved Nigeria’s democracy and Nigerians,” Gowon said.