buhariPresident-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday declared that President Goodluck Jonathan changed the course of Nigeria’s political history by making the critical phone call to him during the collation of results of the March 28 presidential poll, which, he said, saved Nigeria from a needless orgy of violence.
While the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was still collating the results of the election, Jonathan called Buhari to congratulating him for winning the contest.
Buhari acknowledged yesterday that the outgoing President could have used his incumbency power to make things difficult on the outcome of the election at the expense of the lives of most Nigerians, but he chose to take the path of honour.
He made the assertion at the State House when he received the handover notes from President Jonathan.
The incoming President said: “Until I read and digest these notes from the President, I don’t think I will be in a position to make any strong contribution. But what I will say is since the telephone call you made to me, you have changed the course of Nigeria’s political history. For that you have earned yourself a place in our history, for stabilising this system of multi-party democracy, you have earned the respect of not only Nigerians but world leaders.
“All the leaders that spoke to me and congratulated us for arriving at this point, mentioned this and I could understand a lot of relief in their voices that Nigeria has made it after all and this is largely owed to a situation.
“If you (Jonathan) had attempted to make things difficult, you could have made things difficult and that would have been at the expense of the lives of poor Nigerians, but you chose the path of honour and may God help all of us. Thank you very much your, Your Excellency.”
Before handing the notes over to Buhari, Jonathan said “this will give you (Buhari) a mission statement of the commitment of this government for the past five years and the directions we are going that will help you to navigate.
“So it is my pleasure on behalf of the Vice President, members of the Federal Executive Council and other senior functionaries to formally present these handover notes to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the President-elect who will assume office tomorrow (today). Congratulations!
“There is another document that I will handover to you; to me this is more important than the handover notes. The handover notes are the activities of an administration, they show where we started, where we are going, in some of the cases you’ll follow, in other cases you may take another angle.
“But this is a document that was compiled by Nigerians, the Report of the National Conference 2014. We gathered almost 500 Nigerians from all walks of life and they were not influenced by government in any way.
“And most of the recommendations here, if they are followed, most of the grey areas even in our polity, will be straightened. Most of the areas where people complain bitterly: corruption, everything, this document deals with them. Some people here were members of that great body of about 500 eggheads.
“We were unable to implement it because of the shortness of time; we have sent a copy to the National Assembly but it is a document that we are very hopeful that your government will look into and give it the attention it requires.
“It is also my pleasure on behalf of the Vice President, members of the Executive Council and other senior functionaries and especially the conference members that developed this report, the baby of the nation, to handover this also to you,” he said.
The President reeled out the achievements of his administration in all sectors of the economy.
He also spoke on the challenges his administration had faced, occasioned by the violent activities of terrorists group, Boko Haram.
President Jonathan observed that the Boko Haram menace predated his administration, but expressed the hope that it would be eradicated.
He also expressed the hope that the missing Chibok schoolgirls would be found.
The outgoing President said he was careful not make the anti-corruption agencies the battle axe for governance and politics.
Instead, he said, his government tried to give freehand to the agencies so that they would become strong institutions.
Jonathan said: “My administration has emphasised giving a free hand to our anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.
“We preferred that they mature into strong institutions instead of being the images, the hammer and the anvil of a strong man. We must encourage them to abide by the rule of law and due process instead of resorting to dramatic or illegal actions orchestrated for cheap applause,” he said.
Jonathan submitted that his administration did its best to intervene and impact positively on key aspects of the Nigerian national life.
Before presenting the handover notes to Buhari, President Jonathan had taken him on a guided tour of the Presidential Villa while Vice President Namadi Sambo also took incoming Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo round the VP wing of the State House.


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