Jonathan, conceding defeat, even before the formal announcement of the 2015 election result, was unprecedented and, definitely, not Nigerian – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, reviewed the 2015 general election that brought him into office, and said the singular act of his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, conceding defeat, even before the formal announcement of the election result, was unprecedented and, definitely, not Nigerian.
Buhari made the assertion at a farewell meeting with his media support group, Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), at the State House, Abuja.
The statement came as the president was billed to confer on the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, the country’s highest honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) during the handover of transition documents at the State House, Abuja, on May 25, ahead of his inauguration as the 16th President of Nigeria.
However, Buhari advised the High Commissioners of the United Kingdom, Richard Hugh Montgomery, and Sri Lanka, Velupillai Kananathan, to always uphold the noble standards of diplomacy, like their predecessors, by respecting Nigerian cultures and traditional institutions. He spoke, when he received Letters of Credence from the diplomats.
Jonathan called for the entrenchment of a culture of integrity across both the corporate and civil spaces as a way of addressing the problems associated with governance, democracy and development in the country.
At the same time, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Transition Council, Mr Boss Mustapha, told a world press conference, yesterday, that nothing could stop the transition of power on May 29.
Nonetheless, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, yesterday, adjourned till May 24 the ruling in a suit seeking to stop the inauguration of Tinubu as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29, 2023.
Speaking at the farewell meeting with his media support team, the president recalled how elated he felt when his predecessor, Jonathan, “called me at 5:25 that evening to say congratulations. I said pardon me Mr. President? He said yes, I called to concede and congratulate you. That was equally very un-Nigerian.”
Buhari also likened the sacrifices of the BMO members to that of past leaders, citing, in particular, Generals Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, and himself. He recalled how in the period of the civil war, he walked from Makurdi, in today’s Benue State, to the shorelines.
While calling on Nigerians to walk on the path of duty if they really wanted to see the country achieve new heights, the president showered praises on members of BMO for volunteering their time and energy throughout the eight years of his administration “without salary, letter of appointment or any formal rewards, describing their sacrifices as ‘very un-Nigerian.”
Buhari said the BMO had by their action given him inspiration and hope for a better Nigeria in the future.
He said, “I am so happy for all that you have done to support my administration. I don’t have enough words to thank you individually and collectively. I occasionally read your outbursts and often wondered what type of Nigerians are these? The sacrifices you have made for our success is beyond measure.”
The president described Nigeria as a lucky country given the natural resources available to it and its vast population, saying, “We don’t even know how much resource we have. A major part of Africa’s natural resources are domiciled in this country.”
Making comparisons with countries he had been to on military training, Buhari cited a particular instance, where people who died of hunger overnight, were cleared off the streets by refuse collectors.
He recalled, “People just moved on with their daily lives even in the face of these cultural shocks.”
Earlier, Chairman and Coordinator of BMO, Niyi Akinsiju, said, “As your administration ends on May 29th, 2023, we wish to state unequivocally that you have made the country proud and posterity will judge you favourably.”