, , ,

The election of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari as the new president of Nigeria is an historic event in many ways. Many observers, including myself, were holding their breath as results from different states were rolling in. After all, it would not have been a surprise to anyone, had these elections triggered off post electoral violence of epic proportion. Electoral violence is not an exception in Africa and in Nigeria for that matter (unfortunately).

Thank God, with a trick that only Nigeria has the secret, the worst nightmare was avoided; even better, Nigeria gave to Africa a show of electoral maturity, responsible media coverage of elections, and skillful independent electoral commission. All stakeholders rose up to the historic moment! Starting with Nigerian citizens who showed tremendous political maturity, commitment to elections and courage, despite threats of violence; the security forces who delivered on their promises of a violence free elections; local community and religious leaders who broadcasted messages of calm and peace.

But my hero of this historic night is the outgoing president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan! After learning about his eminent defeat, President Goodluck made a short congratulatory call to the winner Buhari. After this gracious action, he then delivered the emotional and thoughtful speech below. A speech I wished many incumbent African presidents before him had made in order to save their countries a bloodbath. A speech I hope will inspire many current African Presidents who are facing elections in the coming months and year or are planning to change their constitutions to cling on to power.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s short speech will go a long way in securing a peaceful transition in Nigeria. The journey is still long, the next few weeks will be critical in Nigeria, as we are still awaiting gubernatorial elections on April 11, 2015.

I hope politicians in Nigeria and Africa will follow this brave example.
President Goodluck Jonathan… Nigeria was lucky to have you as the incumbent President! Goodbye and Good luck!

Full Text of the :

Fellow Nigerians,
I thank you all for turning out en-masse for the March 28 General Elections.
I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word. I have also expanded the space for Nigerians to participate in the democratic process. That is one legacy I will like to see endure.
Although some people have expressed mixed feelings about the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I urge those who may feel aggrieved to follow due process based on our constitution and our electoral laws, in seeking redress.
As I have always affirmed, nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. The unity, stability and progress of our dear country is more important than anything else.
I congratulate all Nigerians for successfully going through the process of the March 28th General Elections with the commendable enthusiasm and commitment that was demonstrated nationwide.
I also commend the Security Services for their role in ensuring that the elections were mostly peaceful and violence-free.
To my colleagues in the PDP, I thank you for your support. Today, the PDP should be celebrating rather than mourning. We have established a legacy of democratic freedom, transparency, economic growth and free and fair elections.
For the past 16 years, we have steered the country away from ethnic and regional politics. We created a Pan-Nigerian political party and brought home to our people the realities of economic development and social transformation.
Through patriotism and diligence, we have built the biggest and most patriotic party in Nigerian history. We must stand together as a party and look to the future with renewed optimism.
I thank all Nigerians once again for the great opportunity I was given to lead this country and assure you that I will continue to do my best at the helm of national affairs until the end of my tenure.
I have conveyed my personal best wishes to General Muhammadu Buhari.
May God Almighty continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I thank you all.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
Federal Republic of Nigeria
March 31, 2015