The recent declaring by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that All Progressives Congress, APC, won the presidential election, will go down memory lane as one of the electoral victories never envisaged in the African continent.
The conduct of the elections and roles of the actors placed Nigeria and Africa in a world stage and in the comity of nations with thriving democracy, in spite of the historic blight of past military dictatorships and unstable polity.
Pundits across the globe have predicted doomsday for the country, pin-pointedly saying that 2015 will be a traumatic end of Nigeria as a country, and yet indeed, it almost turned out as predicted.
And just a few seconds to the prophetic doomsday, a positive anti-thesis occasioned by just one man’s decision, smiled on all Nigerians.
This has really placed Nigeria and indeed Africa, on new pedestal of glory, and had shamed all the negative predictions, permutations and ‘scientific logic’ of the Western world. It also re-defined all known human calculations and beaten the analogies and theories put in place, awaiting the collapse of the nation.
Before now, Nigeria was indeed on the brink of precipice, as tension grew from Sokoto to Kano, Borno to Bayelsa and from Lagos to the creeks as to the different political inclinations, the Boko Haram insurgency, the economic blues and divisive elements along ethnic, religious and regional lines and other explosive factors.
The country was at its wit’s end. The drum-beat of war was everywhere, people were disillusioned, while at the Gulf of Guinea, there war planes and other arsenal owned by a superpower nation watching Nigeria, refugee camps being built for Nigerians as a result of the would be aftermath of the elections.
The elections turned out to be one of the most unifying and glorious elections ever conducted, as the divine hand of God, once again, proved to the world that God is indeed in charge of Nigeria.
While the presidential elections 2015, took place on March 28 and on April 1, an incumbent President in Nigeria, an African country for that matter, with all its apparatus of government, especially the military, accepted defeat and congratulated an incoming president.
President Goodluck Jonathan for the sake of Nigeria’s peace, unity and tranquility, tossed away his ambition, a thing unheard of in this part of the world. Something very strange and really alien to us, had definitely happened.
Today, we hold our heads in high esteem as a country bathed in democratic norms, character and attitude.
A statesman is defined as one versed in the principles of a government, especially, one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government or in shaping policies, a wise, skillful, and respected political leader, a promoter of public good.
By this rare feat and exemplary integrity exhibited by President Jonathan, an enigmatic statesman has emerged.
Even the best of his Jonathan Boys did not believe he was taking the right decision and they urged him not to give in easily. They believed he had all it took to win at all costs. A singular reason was that in Kano, many under-age voters took part and INEC did not view it necessary to void a single vote out of 1.7 voters. That was a clear case of INEC’s complicity in rigging for Buhari. With that infraction Jonathan Boys urged him sincerely to cancel the election, and ‘invite’ international sympathy while calling for a fresh presidential election and automatic removal of the INEC chairman.
Looking at it critically, as humans all those issues must have also passed through the heart of Mr. President and he must have also reflected on them critically in his thought process as he was direly pressured by his lieutenants, aides, advisers and politicians.
After weighing the merits and demerits of delaying Buhari’s victory, he decided against all odds for the good of Nigeria, to extend an olive branch to his opponent by conceding defeat. This is indeed out of this world and will be a reference point in the annals of Nigeria’s political development.
This stride by Jonathan has put him in the league of statesmen like Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Mahatma Ghandi, among others, who in their prime positions also added value to humanity.
We can fully grasp what Jonathan did by revisiting Buhari’s life-time memorable statement: “…at exactly, 5.15 yesterday (Tuesday) evening, President Jonathan, called to congratulate me on my victory. For this, I want all Nigerians to join me in congratulating and appreciating Mr. President for his statesmanship. President Jonathan was a worthy opponent; I extend my hand of fellowship to him.”
As Nigerians bask in the euphoria of CHANGE in our march to forming a better society, that is just, fair, and with equal opportunities for the aspirations of all, the legacy left behind by our founding fathers, including Jonathan’s and Buhari’s zero tolerance for corruption Nigeria surely will attain the desired economic rejuvenation, political stability and REAL transformation.
Jonathan has given the baton to Buhari and as it is today, both have raised the chorus: “the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain…,” and we have no option, but to join them heartily.
Aigbe writes from Abuja