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How President Jonathan’s ‘Classy Role’ During 2015 Election Will Shape 16 African Democracies

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Two scholars at the Wilson Center in the United States, U.S, have lauded the “classy role” played by former President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election which they described as Africa’s “most important story of 2015″.

According to them, Jonathan’s laudable roles in last year’s elections in Nigeria would serve as a shining example for 16 African countries that would go to the polls this year.

The Wilson Center is chartered by the U.S Congress as the official memorial to former President Woodrow Wilson and is reputed as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.

Writing in the Center’s maiden Africa Year Review 2015 publication, a Ghana-born democracy activist and the current executive director of the African Immigrants Caucus, AIC, Nii Akuetteh pointed out that if Jonathan had not handled the election well, there could have been violence as normally witnessed in Africa.

“Thanks to Jonathan’s handling the election and the turnover of power so smoothly, another potential havoc was avoided,” he wrote.

Akuetteh, who quoted Jonathan as telling him after the election that: “Had serious post-election disturbances erupted, Nigerian refugees flooding Ghana would have exceeded your entire population,” stressed that “unquestionably, Nigeria’s recent embrace of democracy and Jonathan’s classy role define Africa’s most important—and uplifting—story of 2015. Africa and the world should give thanks.”

On his part, a senior researcher with the Nigerian think tank Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, IPPA, and member of the Southern Voices Network, Olusegun Sotola wrote that: “Nigeria’s historic and successful 2015 election marks a significant milestone in the country’s democracy, and it signposts several emerging positive trends in Africa. First, given Nigeria’s stature in the region, the willingness of the incumbent to concede power and not manipulate the process matters a great deal.

“African leaders are known for attempting to manipulate the electoral process to lengthen their stay in office. The electoral histories of African countries are replete with post-election violence caused by the unwillingness of the ruling party or the incumbent to relinquish power.

“That an entrenched power bloc would acquiesce to its loss in an election without engineering violence suggests a new robustness of Nigerian democracy and provides a strong practical example for African leaders.

“At least 17 African countries will hold elections this year. The outcome of the 2015 Nigerian election should serve as a benchmark for these other coming elections, especially those which the incumbent is contesting”, he stressed.

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