Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan has once again defended his decision to concede the 2015 presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting he has no regret over the decision and will do so again given the same scenario.
Jonathan stated this while responding to a question at the constitutional term limits summit in Niamey, Niger Republic.
According to him, the decision was a sacrifice for Nigeria’s democracy.
Jonathan said, “Let me thank the young man (Fredrick Nwabufo) from Nigeria for asking me that direct question. Let me put it very clearly. If I have the opportunity in a similar circumstance, I will do exactly the same thing.”
“I always say that if you want to take a public office you should be ready to make personal sacrifices. If you are not ready to help people, then you have no business going into politics.
“What we should also know the process of building a society. People die in the process of a building a society.
“I have no regret up to this time, no matter the circumstances, I have no regret because what I did will continue to shape political discussions, not only in Nigeria but across the continent.
“Some people may not appreciate it, but as we continue to strengthen democracy, people will begin to look at conducts that are acceptable and some that are not.
“If the little contribute I have made will help to improve our democracy in the country and on continent, yes, I will do the same thing again.
“Some people raise the issue of people around the president, how do you manage them because there is the tendency for such people to influence the president negatively.
“A classical example is what happened in the Gambia. There was a former military head of state who became a civilian president. He now encouraged election. When that election was to take place, people thought he would manipulate the system. Somehow he lost the election, and the voting margin was very narrow, but he conceded that election.
“But the chairman of the political party that won the election issued a statement threatening to probe Jammeh. And the man was afraid. ‘ I’m still sitting here and they want to probe me already. Ok, let’s fight’. He said he was no longer going to accept defeat.
“So people around a president can really cause crisis. Remember in my book, during that transition period people around wanted to collapse the beautiful thing we were doing.
“Buhari and I were in talks. And when the issue came up, I called him and we resolved it and we moved on. I agree, people around a president can make one suggestion or the other that can influence him negatively.
“People like that will always be there. But a president must be ready to resist from being pushed to a direction they don’t want to go.”
Ex-president Jonathan was Nigeria’s incumbent president going into the 2015 general election but lost the election to the then-candidate Muhammadu Buhari.
With additional report from TheCable