Nigeria’s President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari, has disclosed that Nigeria would have face great turmoil if incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan refrained from conceding defeat or rejected the outcome of the Presidential Election.
The incoming President Buhari due to take over office on Friday, May 29, 2015 gave this commendation while receiving the President of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadou in Abuja.
The former Head of State mentioned that President Jonathan’s statemanship is a turning point to Nigeria’s nervous political milieu.
In General Buhari’s words: “The Nigerien president purposely came to congratulate me on my victory and President Jonathan for the maturity and statesmanship that he exhibited by accepting that he had lost the election.
“His action actually doused tensions and averted crisis in Nigeria.
“Not only Africa but the world has commended the president for that because if he had disputed the elections, there would have been crisis in the country.
“That is what people don’t want, not only Nigerians but other countries. So, he came to commend President Jonathan for his courage and statesmanship.’’
He said Issoufou had also come to show solidarity and acknowledge Nigeria’s importance on the continent.
Buhari said but for colonialism, Niger and Nigeria and all countries living along the border were one as they shared similar cultures, religions and mannerisms.
NAN Agency reported that Gen. Buhari further stated that “if Nigeria sneezes, the rest of Africa catches cold because of its importance, population and resources.
“So, Nigeria and Niger Republic are one entity as one singer from Niger puts it in his lyrics. We share a 1,500 kilometre long border with Niger which stretches from Chad to Sokoto, and all the people living along the borders on either sides are same people.
“The colonialists separated these people when they partitioned Africa at the Berlin conference in 1885. They separated the Fulanis, Kanuris and the Hausas from their brothers who are presently in Niger.
“They separated the Yorubas of Nigeria and the ones in Benin Republic. They also separated the Fulanis and other tribes who were living together as one along the Cameroun border.
“So, all these countries around us were a single entity with people of similar culture and religion before they became separated but time has changed and we thank him for reminding us of our history of brotherhood.’’
Earlier, Mahammadou said he was in Nigeria to convey the gratitude and salutation of Niger Republic for the peaceful conduct of the elections held in spite of challenges.
“President Jonathan conceding defeat and this act will have a lasting impact and influence on politics in Africa, West Africa and Africa at large.
“So, I’m here both to congratulate the president-elect and the people of Nigeria for the smooth conduct of the elections,” Issoufou said.
Issoufou, who had a closed-door meeting with President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said his conduct during and after the presidential election is a model for Africa’s democracy.
He described the Jonathan’s gesture as an evidence of his statesmanship, maturity and humility.
The Nigerien leader, who spoke in French, said Jonathan’s conduct in the aftermath of the polls was also worthy of emulation by other African leaders.
“The visiting president said at the ECOWAS level, President Jonathan has made a lot of contributions.
“The most important thing he made perhaps is the contribution he made during the last elections.
“We all knew before the elections there was a lot of tension everywhere in Nigeria. We all know that election results are always contested in Africa.
“But, the President showed great maturity and statesmanship during the last elections.
“By conceding and calling to congratulate his challenger, he is a great lesson to all African leaders.
“It is a good legacy the president is leaving behind for other countries to emulate. In fact, he has set a good model of democracy for ECOWAS countries,” he said.
The Nigerien leader also expressed appreciation to Jonathan numerous contributions to the security, economy and infrastructural development of West Africa.
He said having worked with Jonathan at bilateral and multilateral levels in the past four years, and seen how he conducted himself in office, it was no surprise that he made immense contributions before leaving office.