There is no doubt that President Goodluck Jonathan has written his name in gold in the annals of Nigeria’s democratic advancement when he congratulated President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari shortly before the results of the presidential election were formally announced, Tuesday, March 31 by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
By that rear feat and exemplary display, President Jonathan not only demonstrated the gentleman he is, but has added another feather to the list of numerous accolades, a ‘dignified statesman’. Statesmen are men that have exhibited great wisdom and ability in directing affairs and providing solutions to challenges of national issues faced by their people or its government. In the history of every nation, different statesmen emerge at different times.
For example, when South Africa was in want of a black political leader, Dr. Nelson Mandela showed up and met the needs of South Africans. Others like Mahatma Gandhi, Napoleon Bonaparte, Wilson Churchill, George Washington, Bill Clinton, John Kennedy, have stood up for or against something in the history of their respective countries.
Today, President Goodluck Jonathan has demonstrated to all, the world over that he is really a statesman, who has the interest of Nigeria at heart in the manner he piloted the affairs of the country in the face of daunting challenges, betrayals, disloyalty from party men and subordinates, as he awaited presidential contest between himself and General Buahri(rtd).
While agent provocateurs and spin-doctors had predicted doom and division of the country, his utter paradigm gave it all for a more united Nigeria. During his campaigns prior to the March 28 presidential and National Assembly elections, President Jonathan had repeatedly said that his ambition to serve Nigeria is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. It must be noted that no Nigerian leader, past or present has ever made such patriotic statement, even though a number of political opponents condemned his talk as a mere political remark.
Notwithstanding the fact that Nigerian politicians are hardly taken seriously, not to speak of their weighty remarks, President Jonathan has walked his talk by not only conceding defeat in last week’s presidential election, but by also congratulating his opponent, General Buhari.
Two quick lessons to be learnt from this patriotic demonstration, are one, President Jonathan has made history; two, his action will go a long way in changing the orientation of Nigeria politicians with respect to how to conduct issue based politics. Similarly, the President’s action has set the pace for others to follow. By this action, he has further demonstrated one of the salient qualities of a good national leader with the toga, ‘dignified statesman’.
It is pertinent to note again that President Jonathan’s efforts went a long way in diffusing a hitherto charged political atmosphere as the security agents were already at red alert to forestall any violence that was likely to be fomented by hoodlums and political thugs. His action calmed mounting tension, which had brought a lull in the financial market; there is relative peace in his native Niger Delta region, where the first violent salvo was expected to have come from.
But in all, Nigeria is better for it and it is expected that the Buhari administration will have a smooth transition where he should reciprocate Jonathan’s gesture by being a true nationalist, who must devoid of tribe, religion and party sentiments. He must emulate the Jonathan example with love for fatherland. This is so because, the outgoing President has proved that his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.