By Chizoba Ogbeche
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has given further insight into his major reasons for conceding victory to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 general elections, saying he did not want Nigeria to slide into a theatre of war.
“I never knew that the human brain had the capacity for such enhanced rapid thinking. One hundred and one things were going 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 leading to the election. The country became more polarised more than ever before, such that the gap between the North and the South and between Christians and Muslims became quite pronounced”, the former President said.
“In fact, it became so disturbing that some interest groups in the United States began to predict 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”.
Jonathan told his story, last week, during a dinner in his honour by Cercle Diplomatique, Geneva, Switzerland. The former President also spoke about his foray into politics, the allure of power and future plans.
“ As you can see, I have not come here with a prepared speech, since what I consider appropriate for this occasion is to just thank you all, members and everyone else in attendance, in a few words, for the dinner and the award, in order not to make the evening look boring.
“But having said that, I am still tempted to note that if I were to present a written speech, the title, would probably have been “Power Tussle in Africa: A Stumbling Block to Economic Growth.” When Mr. Robert Blum, your President, made his very interesting opening
remarks, he introduced me as the former President of Nigeria. He was absolutely correct.
“However, I believe that not many of you here know that the story of my foray into politics has a peculiar ring to it. I entered politics in 1998 and, barely one year after, I got elected as the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, my state. I later became Governor, Vice President
and eventually got elected as the President of my country. I remain the only leader in my country to have travelled that route.
“As the President, I served out my first term but, as Mr. Blum had pointed out earlier, I lost the bid to be re-elected. I am encouraged by the fact that many of you here appreciated my decision not to reject or contest my loss at the polls, not even in the courts as many people had expected”.