Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday night recalled how his acceptance of defeat in the 2015 presidential election put paid to predictions and prophecies by some Nigerians that the country would burn.
Jonathan, who posted a message on his Facebook wall to accept an award from The African Sun Times as International Person of the Year 2015, described the 2015 presidential election as “most transparent, violence-free and credible.”
He was named as recipient of the award on Monday.
Prior to the election, there had been serious tension in the country and this was largely fuelled by supporters of the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as well as clergymen.
In some cases, some of these clergymen went as far as saying current President Muhammadu Buhari, who was candidate of the APC, would not win the election and even if he won, he would not be allowed to govern the country.
But just before the end of the collation of votes in the March 28 election, Jonathan called to congratulate Buhari, thus ending the tension and preparing the ground for smooth hand-over between the duo.
“I thank The African Sun Times for naming me as its International Person of the year, 2015. I am indeed humbled by this honour,” Jonathan said.
“When I think about it, I understand why this medium may have thought me worthy of such an honour. However, I believe that my people, the Nigerian people, are more deserving of this honour.
“We, the Nigerian people put to shame naysayers and prophets of doom and in 2015, we held a most transparent, violence free and credible elections that transferred power from one political party to another and from an incumbent to the opposition, without rancour, bitterness or strife.
“In the process, we proved that nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian or any national of any country for that matter.
“That to me, is a most worthy testimonial of the character of the Nigerian nation and the resilience of our people which is why I dedicate this honour to them. May God continue to bless Nigeria and Nigerians,” he added.
In naming Jonathan the winner of the award, the African Sun Times, noted the role the former President played in ensuring a peaceful transition in Nigeria.
“The award was given to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who shocked the whole world by swiftly calling current Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and conceding his defeat in the March 29 Nigerian presidential election, thereby stopping the predictions of violent bloodshed in Nigeria, and keeping his words that he would not allow the blood of a Nigerian to be shed to further his political ambitions.
“President Jonathan must be applauded for creating a solid foundation for the growth of democracy in Africa. The world has started to recognize President Jonathan’s courageous act,” the African Sun Times said.