A former Nigerian military head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, said on Thursday that by accepting defeat in 2015, ex-Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, saved the country from political crises.
Mr Abubakar spoke at a one-day peace conference organised by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, with the theme “Peaceful Elections and National Development.”
Dignitaries at the event include Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and Convener National Peace Committee of Nigeria; Al-Hassan Conteh, Liberia Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as Fidele Sarassoro, Chief of Staff to the President of Cote d’Ivoire.
Mr Abubakar, who was the chairman of the conference, said Mr Jonathan kept to his words that his ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
He called on key political actors in Nigeria, particularly those seeking elective positions, to do everything possible to ensure peace in the forthcoming general elections because “Nigeria is not a stranger to electoral violence.”
He urged all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful nation because, “Without peace, there would be no nation, and without a nation, there would be no election.”
“The period of election in the country is often tension-soaked because of the competition involved. Nigeria is not a stranger to electoral violence. Jonathan kept his word that his presidency is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.”
“He graciously conceded defeat. He saved the country from falling into political crisis. Nigerians and indeed, the world are praying that the election would be peaceful. Without peace, there would be no nation, and without a nation, there would be no election,” he said.
Speaking earlier at the event, Mr Jonathan spoke about the need for unity in Nigeria.
“We experienced the civil war that ended since 1970. But up to date, the feelings are still in even children who were not born at that time because of the stories they get told. And that is why we must do everything to avoid conflict because it is always difficult to erase these feelings,” the former president said.
Mr Jonathan, before the announcement of the final results of the 2015 general presidential elections, in a move that shocked many political pundits, conceded defeat to the current president, Muhamadu Buhari, after a keenly contested poll.
That was the first time an incumbent would be losing the top seat (and conceding victory) to an opposition party in Nigeria.
Mr Jonathan has been celebrated globally for his action, which many believe saved the country from political turmoil.