Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the national chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, are currently attending a public presentation of a book “My Transition Hours” written by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Former Vice President Namadi Sambo as well as former presidents of Ghana, Benin and Sierra Leone are also attending.
President Muhammadu Buhari is being represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The event is holding inside the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
Other notable persons at the event are the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, former Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio, former Senate president, David Mark, and PDP national chairman, Uche Secondus.
Jonathan guaranteed Nigerian Peace
In a brief remark, former military head of state, Abdulasalmi Abubakar, said Nigeria is not at war today because of the decision by Mr Jonathan to concede defeat during the 2015 election.
“We cannot thank you enough for the peace we are having in the country today; for the peaceful transition we had when you freely and voluntarily conceded defeat,” Mr Abubakar said.
Mr Abubakar said “By your decision, you have shown that you love your country more than you love power”.
Also speaking, a former president of Ghana, John Mahama, said Mr Jonathan was more of an academic who found himself in politics. “He is not your typical politician,” he said.
Mr Mahama said Mr Jonathan approached leadership with a “relaxed approach” which was why he succeeded as a leader.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo with other dignitaries at the launch of Goodluck Jonathans book
Mr Mahama said he shared similarities with Mr Jonathan and they became close when as vice presidents, they often met at the African Union summits and other meetings representing their principals.
He also said they both became president after the passing of their presidents in office.
Mr Mahama described Mr Jonathan as “not talkative, reasonable and level headed in politics”.
“For him politics was not a matter of life and death. His decision in 2015 was not surprising to me at all,” he said.
The former Ghanaian leader also recalled that at the height of vote counting after the 2015 election and because of his closeness to Mr Jonathan, he received lots of calls from members of the international community especially from the UK and USA “asking me to speak to my friend to accept defeat”.
“They were afraid that like a typical African leader he would try to hold on to power.
“But I told them there was no need, Jonathan is a good man and he would do the right thing,” he said.
Mr Mahama also said like Mr Jonathan, he lost his bid for a second term in 2016.
“I also graciously called my opponent and congratulated him conceding the election.
“When the history of Nigerian democracy is written, President Jonathan’s name will be written in gold,” Mr Mahama said.
Mr Jonathan’s vice, Namadi Sambo, who also spoke briefly, said Mr Jonathan helped greatly in consolidating Nigerian democracy.
He also said Mr Jonathan as president made appointments purely based on merit.
Mr Sambo gave an example by saying he was selected as a vice president by Mr Jonathan at a time he was campaigning for someone else to be selected.
He also said Mr Jonathan appointed former national chairman of Independent National Electoral commission, Attahiru Jega, “whom he never met”.
Giving an insight into how Mr Jonathan worked as a president, Mr Sambo recalled that when an outbreak of Ebola virus in Nigeria was announced in 2014, the president, who returned from an official trip to the USA by 5a.m. convened an emergency meeting in his office by 7a.m. where measures were taken to tackle the outbreak.
“After just a few days WHO declared Nigeria Ebola free,” he said.
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