Former President Goodluck Jonathan has spoken of the tensed moments he faced on March 28, 2015 ahead of his decision to concede victory to President Muhammadu Buhari after that year’s presidential election.
“I was actually in that valley on March 28, 2015”, he said.
Jonathan also narrated why he relinquished power to Buhari, saying he did not want Nigeria to slide into a theatre of war, with his fellow county men and woman dying, and many more pouring into other nations in Africa and beyond, as refugees.
“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.
Jonathan and Naomi King
He began: “ 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.
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