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Ex-President Jonathan: Still Lifting Nigeria High By EMMANUEL YAWE – National Accord



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With presidential election results from all but one of Nigeria’s 36 states counted, and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, clearly in unassailable lead, President Jonathan had telephoned Mr. Buhari to concede defeat.
At the time the call was made, the Independent National Electoral Commission was yet to declare Mr. Buhari winner because it was still expecting results from Nigeria’s remote Borno State.
No Nigerian Presidential candidate had taken such a step before this call. It was a novel exercise that made the President stood out and still stands out as an extraordinary patriot. It is true that he made it known, several times during the campaigns that his continuation in office would not be at the expense of the blood of Nigerians. Many Nigerians however dismissed his assertions as just one of those political talks.
Tension was expectedly high as Nigerians anxiously awaited the full results of the Presidential and National Assembly elections. At this explosive time, some officials of the Peoples Democratic Party, led by a former Niger Delta minister, Godsday Orubebe, disrupted the results collation exercise in Abuja, accusing the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, of bias.
Mr. Orubebe, seized the microphone and for several minutes insisted Mr. Jega leave the results collation centre at the International Conference Centre.
He said Mr. Jega’s conduct so far has shown he is clearly biased against the ruling PDP.
He said Mr. Jega acted promptly on complaints from the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, but refused to accept a petition from the PDP regarding the results declared so far.
Mr. Orubebe accused the INEC chairman of being “tribalistic and partial.”
He said while Mr. Jega promptly commissioned a fact-finding team on reports of malpractices from Rivers State, he has not acted on the PDP’s complaints over results from Kano, Katsina, Kaduna and Gombe states.
Mr. Orubebe was unyielding as Mr. Jega and other INEC officials appealed to him to allow the collation go on.
He said the collation would not continue except Mr. Jega leave the venue for his office to “address PDP complaints”.
Mr. Orubebe was later led away from the podium before announcement of results continued. The historic concession telephone call came in timely to defuse tension across Nigeria and has thrown up Mr. Jonathan as a democracy hero.
That phone conversation between Jonathan and Buhari is believed to have saved Nigeria from descending into violence in the aftermath of the election.
When he was sworn in as substantive President after the death of his boss, President Umaru Yar adua, he came into office with a lot of good will. His administration however lost the momentum and was soon popularly seen as underperforming.
Violence was a predictable outcome at this election stage because his government had a poor record of performance in such areas as power generation which at his assumption of office stood at 3,000 mega watts which now nosedived to 2,000 mega watts.
Perhaps Mr Jonathan’s biggest albatross was his dismal security record. His administration went to sleep while the insurgent group, Boko Haram, ran amok killing thousands and capturing territory as huge as Belgium from Nigeria in its bid to create an Islamic caliphate.
The president also failed to curb the perennial clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers particularly in the north central region.
The insecurity was also witnessed in the southern part of the country as kidnappers went on rampage abducting people for ransom. Politicians, their aides, family members and public officials were the major targets as the criminals virtually had their way in various states like Edo, Bayelsa, and Ondo State. Under the Jonathan administration, Nigeria became one of the most dangerous places in the world to live.
After the unforgivable lapses in security especially in the north-east, corruption was another factor that Mr. Jonathan couldn’t get a grip on, or deliberately allowed to flourish under his administration. Aides and ministers accused of corruption were either shielded or allowed to stay in their position.
The granting of presidential pardon to his former boss former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was convicted of money laundering, sparked outrage among Nigerians.
His handling of the economy was so poor that the $60 billion inherited in foreign reserve was plundered to as low as $40 billion in five years.
As at June 2014, the country’s external debt rose by 40 per cent to $9.377 billion and a domestic debt of $47.653 billion.
Though inflation was kept at a single digit, companies struggled to survive and the country continually ranked poorly in the ease of doing business index by the World Bank.
Despite his promises he could not revive the manufacturing sector. Companies complained of incurring huge cost due to their reliance on diesel. The textile industry remained moribund. Poverty remained widespread and youth employment was at an all time high.
Under Mr. Jonathan, Nigeria’s foreign relations was in sixes and sevens. There was no clear foreign relation direction as the country gradually lost its clout in the international community.
Nigeria was left with a bloody nose after the South African government seized its $15 million arms money illegal brought into South Africa in cash. At the twilight of Mr Jonathan’s administration, the South African government also ridiculed Nigeria’s shoddy recall of her ambassador to South Africa following the xenophobic violence there.
With these records, very few in Nigeria would have wanted him to stay in office after the 2015. With the telephone call to Buhari, he did not only douse the tension, he compelled Nigerians to see him in a new light as a man of peace. His insistence to stay in office under the pretext of a flawed electoral process as Orubebe and his PDP party hot heads wanted would have put the county through a wrenching ordeal.
His leaving office the peaceful way he did has shot up his personal profile and that of Nigeria. He has been honoured with several appointments, awards and speaking events.
He is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, among other engagements.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been appointed the Chancellor of Cavendish University Uganda (CUU).
The institution made the announcement via its Facebook page.
“Welcome aboard Goodluck Jonathan as you take over as the Chancellor of CUU. We look forward to this new era and achieving great things under your leadership. Success begins at Cavendish!”, it read.
The private university, in existence since 2008, is among the top-ranked in Uganda and in Africa. CUU held its first graduation ceremony in November 2011.
Former Zambian President, the late Kenneth Kaunda used to be the Chancellor.
Since leaving office in 2015, Jonathan has been honoured with several appointments, awards and speaking events.
President Jonathan is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, among other engagements.
Within Nigeria, his Foundation, the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation is playing a positive role in national development. Last week he organized a well-attended dialogue in Abuja, which had the theme: ‘Democracy and Unity of the State’.
Speaking on the theme, the senate president Ahmed Lawan said political leaders should emulate Johnathans good example and be committed to ensuring peace and unity in the country.
“When political leaders allow for suspicion between and among themselves, the outcome is that those at the grassroots or the ethnic nationalities will behave the same way,” he said
One sure way the respected President can do this is to stay above the fray of partisan politics and snub the temptation to contest elections which I understandj0 he is being lured into today.

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