Former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday, revealed the reasons why he conceded the 2015 election and his telephone call to his then rival, Muhammadu Buhari, and said it was a “collective decision to save Nigeria”.
While speaking at the Goodluck Jonathan 2022 Peace Conference themed, “Nation Building: The Role of Elections in a Multi-ethnic Context”, the former president, however, warned current political actors to tread with caution in the run-up to the 2023 general election, saying there first must be a country before their aspiration.
Also speaking at the event, a former head of state, General Abdulsalami, charged politicians to put Nigeria first before their ambition, as there could not be democracy without the nation.
In like manner, Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has identified the lack of ideological politics as the bane of political parties in the country, which are no more than a special purpose vehicle.
At the same time, former president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, called on politicians to always reflect and be willing to concede defeat as Jonathan did in 2015, an action, believed to have salvaged the nation’s fledgling democracy.
Jonathan, who in his speech, described hate speech and propaganda as threat to democratic, reacted to comments that he saved Nigeria and bloodshed by telephoning now President Buhari to concede defeat, saying, it was a collective decision.
“We saved the country collectively,” he said, noting that the era of ballot box snatching was over, because of the introduction of electronic voting as contained in the new electoral act.
He recounted his experience in his home town, where ballot boxes were snatched during the first and second republic, but maintained that, “All these are a thing of the past because of innovations in the electoral act.”
Continuing, the former president explained, “First and foremost, there must be a country first. If you destroy a country, how can you be the president of Nigeria or governor.
“Those who want to be president, there must be a country first. So, those who want to be president tell your supporters that there must be a country first.”
Specifically to the youths, he said, “We urge you to discourage hate speech. Hate speech and propaganda remain one threat to democracy. The young people should embrace good conduct.”
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