Why I admitted 2015 election defeat to Buhari – Jonathan finally speaks out

According to reports, 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.

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“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.

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.

“However, I believe that not many of you here know that the story of my foray into politics has a peculiar ring to it. I entered politics in 1998 and, barely one year after, I got elected as the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, my state. I later became Governor, Vice President and eventually got elected as the President of my country. I remain the only leader in my country to have travelled that route.

As the President, I served out my first term but, as Mr. Blum had pointed out earlier, I lost the bid to be re-elected. I am encouraged by the fact that many of you here appreciated my decision not to reject or contest my loss at the polls, not even in the courts as many people had expected.

“Again, I have to agree with Blum that it was not an easy decision to take. This is because the allure of power and the worries about what would become of you after leaving office constitute an irresistible force. It has an attraction so controlling and powerful that it takes a man who has the fear of God and who loves his people and nation to relinquish power so easily in Africa.

“I was actually in that valley on March 28, 2015. I never knew that the human brain had the capacity for such enhanced rapid thinking. One hundred and one things were coursing 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 and days leading to the election. The country became more polarized more than ever before, such that the gap between the North and the South and between Christians and Muslims became quite pronounced. In fact, it became so disturbing that some interest groups in the United States began to predict that Nigeria would disintegrate in 2015. And, 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.

“Should I then, for the love of power, watch Nigeria slide into a theatre of war, with my fellow country men and women dying, and many more pouring into other nations in Africa and beyond, as refugees?

“Should I hang on to power and tussle with my challengers, while the investments of hard-working citizens of the world go down the drain? I then said to myself, NO!

“I promised my God that I will not let that fate befall Nigeria under my watch, hence the historic telephone call I put through to congratulate my challenger even when the results were still being tallied. I believe that for a country to be great, both the leaders and the led must be prepared to make sacrifices. This is why, everywhere I go, I always advise that the new generation of African leaders must think differently. We can no longer afford to wilfully sacrifice the blood of our citizens on the altar of dangerous partisan politics. It is not worth it. This reminds me of one of my campaign statements to the effect that my ambition was not worth the shedding of the blood of any Nigerian. Some people took it then as mere political slogan but I knew that I meant it when I said it.

We must all fight for the enthronement of political stability in Africa, for in it lies the panacea for sustainable growth and development. For Africa to record the kind of advancement that will be competitive and beneficial to our citizens, we must have stable states supported by strong institutions. That appears to be the irreducible minimum that is common to all developed societies. Africa’s political odyssey can distinctly be categorised into three eras, and probably another that would later signpost its classification as a developed continent”.

“Some may doubt this, but it is no fluke that Africa is growing and rising. However I will admit before you here that we still have challenges. That is why people like us did all we could to ensure that Nigeria, the biggest black nation on earth, would not drift into anarchy because such a situation would have spelt doom for the rest of the continent. It would have affected not just Nigeria alone, but the GDP and economy of the entire West Africa. And if the economy of West Africa crashes, it would definitely affect the performance of the economy of the whole of Africa. As you know, the GDP of Africa is less than three trillion dollars, with only six African countries able to boast of nominal GDP above $100 billion. Even for those in this ‘elite’ category, you can’t really say that they are rich countries. Apart from maybe South Africa that has an industrially competitive economy, the rest are still mainly commodity exporting countries. Even the case of that of South Africa is not very encouraging, because we have a situation which we could refer to as a first world economic performance, yet the ordinary people live the life of the people in the so called third world.

“In the case of Nigeria which is even the biggest economy on the continent, the reality is that we have an unenviable per capita GDP of $3,203, which is the World Bank average for a period covering 2011-2015.

“Even then, I still believe that Africa has a bright future; a promising prognosis that is supported by the fact that the continent remains a very fertile and attractive territory that yields irresistible returns on investments. I believe that in the next few years many more big investors will be jostling to come to Africa, if only we will do the right thing. The process of getting it right has already started with a democratic and increasingly democratising Africa. But we have to deepen and strengthen our democratic credentials through regular, free and fair elections. This will in turn bring about the stability necessary to improve the infrastructure that promotes rapid economic growth. These are the guarantees that would lead us into the next period which I would like to call the era of a developed Africa. I have no doubt in my mind that we will get there some day.

“I will be applying myself diligently to two key areas. First, is to work for good governance by promoting credible and transparent elections. This will bring about the strengthening of our institutions and the enthronement of stability. I also believe that there is the urgent need to create jobs for our teeming young population. This is another area that will be receiving my attention. I recall that the Vice President of your association made reference in his speech to my achievements in that regard through what we called Youth Enterprises with Innovation (YouWin) and the Nagropreneur programme which encouraged young people to go into agriculture. I believe more programmes like that should be established to promote youth entrepreneurship. That way, we reduce their reliance on paid employment. We will not only teach them to become entrepreneurs, they will also acquire the capacity to employ other people. We will be paying special attention to this segment of our society, especially young people and women. We will develop programmes that will inculcate in them business skills to be able to set up micro, small and medium enterprises. We shall assist them to access take-off grants when they acquire the relevant skills and capacities. There are many areas that they can go into; food processing, light manufacturing and the services sector are just some of them. I can tell you from experience that this works. As we speak, Our Nagropreneur programme, to promote youth involvement in agriculture value chain, is being scaled up by the African Development Bank presently. It is already being replicated in 19 African countries because of the success of the programme in Nigeria. I invite all of you here today, cabinet ministers, diplomats and private sector people to remain committed to the cause of improving lives, especially those lives in Africa, and making our world a better place. For those of you that will be sharing in this vision for Africa, I assure you that you will not be disappointed. I am very optimistic that if we encourage young men and women in this continent to develop businesses of their own, the story of Africa will change within 10 years”.

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27 Comments

  1. Jonathan is an asshole of the highest level. If he did not leave he would have been forced out or died in the process. Can u imagine a man that left behind a looted treasury, an impoverished nation, a corrupted country. An imbecile with his illiterate wife who deserved to be stoned upon leaving office, and even said so, if not for the short term memory of a desensitized and impoverished people.

  2. I’m happy for the imprints you left behind in Agriculture, Power sector, Road infrastructure and Education. You can’t be perfect in every area, but I’m in deed happy for you for strengthening the democratic institutions in Nigeria. Keep on preaching this gospel to the rest of African Countries and the world at large to ensure that they think peace as you did. Bravo!

      • The words from your mouth shows how dirty your mind is. I am very much optimistic that you do not have somebody like GEJ in your entire local government. It is not matter of insulting our leaders but in your own little office who are you? Mind you if you cannot stop corruption in your small office you are worse than Jonathan. My experience in my own professional work shows that 90% of Nigerian workers are more corrupt than our GEJ who at least did some commendable projects. Mr Man, where do you work and what is your contributions for the growth of our great country? It is hard to find a Nigerian who stands firm and reject fraud in his/her company, why then are we crucifying another man who is far better than us as far as truth is concern. Most Nigerian workers claim they do what they do because of economy and still point an accusing finger at our leaders. The only way we can be free from this problem is to start amending our ways because the wrath of God will surely come at last to both the accuse and the fools who are deceiving themselves believing that it is only our leaders that are involve. You come as an applicant in a company, you join a cabal of how to bring down the same organisation that has offered you employment to survive. YOU MUST BE ACCUSED IN THE SAME WAY YOU ARE POINTING AT OUR LEADERS. YOUR OWN MAY BE THE WORST. BE ADVICED!

  3. The long and short of the whole story is that Jonathan lost the election and the INEC,which was the statutory electoral umpire,declared Buhari winner
    So why would Jonathan not concede defeat ?
    If had refused to accept deafeat,of course he could had blamed himself for whatever consequences that may had followed,which might had consumed him and his loquacious wife
    All his rhetoric here is quite uncalled for
    The bottom line is that Jonathan was voted out by the patriotic Nigerians and the revelations we are all witnessing now underpines his election loss

    • The words from your mouth shows how dirty your mind is. I am very much optimistic that you do not have somebody like GEJ in your entire local government. It is not matter of insulting our leaders but in your own little office who are you? Mind you if you cannot stop corruption in your small office you are worse than Jonathan. My experience in my own professional work shows that 90% of Nigerian workers are more corrupt than our GEJ who at least did some commendable projects. Mr Man, where do you work and what is your contributions for the growth of our great country? It is hard to find a Nigerian who stands firm and reject fraud in his/her company, why then are we crucifying another man who is far better than us as far as truth is concern. Most Nigerian workers claim they do what they do because of economy and still point an accusing finger at our leaders. The only way we can be free from this problem is to start amending our ways because the wrath of God will surely come at last to both the accuse and the fools who are deceiving themselves believing that it is only our leaders that are involve. You come as an applicant in a company, you join a cabal of how to bring down the same organisation that has offered you employment to survive. YOU MUST BE ACCUSED IN THE SAME WAY YOU ARE POINTING AT OUR LEADERS. YOUR OWN MAY BE THE WORST. BE ADVICED!

  4. Well spoken,Sir.This man is a good man.He is a hero.He did his best in many areas especially in trying to keep Nigeria one.He may not be perfect just as nobody is.If you castigate him because of what we see today,wait till another 10 years and you begin to call him one of the best things that has happened to Nigeria.

  5. Thanks Jona! Greet your illiterate wife. Please, use this opportunity to send her now back to a correct school sharp sharp!!.
    It is utmostly disgusting for such a crude woman to follow a PhD holder like you around….abeg do o

  6. Dear Editor, thank you for the good job. However I urge you to find a way of editing the reactions your readers post here. It is not fair for people to use this platform to insult others, moreso our elder statesmen. Thank you.

    • Thank you bro.
      We should always be cautious irrespective of our emotion and opinion.
      Why insult people when we ourselves have our shortcomings in life.
      Some of us insulting other may actually be far worse than them if found in the same place with the surrounding atmosphere and conditions.
      Let’s be careful and be gentlemen and ladies.
      God bless you

  7. 110% sure, if GEJ is a bad leader, world leaders will not be inviting him to address them. Even appointed to take centre stage in Africa elections and peaceful governance. Today the biggest highway in Abuja has been named after him. God will bless. Those that abuse you, Holyghost fire will consume them. All bad words, back to sender. Amen!!!

      • The words from your mouth shows how dirty your mind is. I am very much optimistic that you do not have somebody like GEJ in your entire local government. It is not matter of insulting our leaders but in your own little office who are you? Mind you if you cannot stop corruption in your small office you are worse than Jonathan. My experience in my own professional work shows that 90% of Nigerian workers are more corrupt than our GEJ who at least did some commendable projects. Mr Man, where do you work and what is your contributions for the growth of our great country? It is hard to find a Nigerian who stands firm and reject fraud in his/her company, why then are we crucifying another man who is far better than us as far as truth is concern. Most Nigerian workers claim they do what they do because of economy and still point an accusing finger at our leaders. The only way we can be free from this problem is to start amending our ways because the wrath of God will surely come at last to both the accuse and the fools who are deceiving themselves believing that it is only our leaders that are involve. You come as an applicant in a company, you join a cabal of how to bring down the same organisation that has offered you employment to survive. YOU MUST BE ACCUSED IN THE SAME WAY YOU ARE POINTING AT OUR LEADERS. YOUR OWN MAY BE THE WORST. BE ADVICED!

  8. We can make our points without resorting to gutter and uncouth language! We’re now too civilized for this type of criticism! We degrade ourselves in the process! Think about it, my friends!!!

  9. The true fact is that Jona accepted defeat only because he was tired and frustrated about the untouchable evil doers that surrounded his government.

  10. Conceding defeat may mean more than what we imagine. Maybe it is so difficult a thing to do, I really think so cos the way the west is celebrating his acceptance of the defeat really underscores this fact. but Sir, our country is not ok. Pls join us to pray for Nigeria

  11. If the former president Jonathan truely believd in what he now preaches,he would not have sacrificed monies meant for securing the lives of the people of the North east to pursue his reelection,the desperation with which he carried out his campaign completely betrayed his current sermon of peace but,of course,our leaders are fond of becoming a saint the moment they lose power. We have seen this even in IBB but,the amazing thing is that Nigerians are easily carried away by this deceitful attitudes of our past rulers,may God help us.

  12. Please let us exercise respect when expressing our opinion and comment against the former President of Nigeria and some of our leaders. Uncivilized language is not welcome. it is the court that has a final decision.

  13. Calling him to address the world on how to take $2billion without buying equipment. Allowing your illiterate wife to disgrace a whole nation in vulgar expression. Leaving Boko haram to ill his people. Making his family loot Nigerian treasury in the hands of Tompolo and Dieziani and co. God dey ooooooooo!

  14. Truly,what options does a man defeated roundly in a free & fair elections have? Not many! GEJ did what needed to be done and go with his life. If he tried otherwise, what Gbagbo of Corte de Voire is currently going through would have been a child’s play!

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