Hussain Obaro in his contribution to Legit.ng describes how one phone call from President Goodluck Jonathan has completely changed the history of the whole nation.
President Goodluck Jonathan displayed humility, simplicity and the spirit of sportsmanship in the process the presidential election. Even though from the very beginning his body language gave many Nigerians the impression that he was not likely to concede the defeat, his behavior was truly exemplary, historic and endeared him to many who have never seen any good in him. Some Nigerians insinuated that Jonathan was planning to install an interim government to avoid handing over to General Muhammadu Buhari should he lose at the polls. Others accused the president of planning to truncate the nation’s democracy by plotting a military takeover if he wasn’t favoured by the outcome of the election. International accolades and commendations concerning the president’s rare display of political maturity and gentlemanliness will soon make him one of Africa’s greatest presidents after May 29 hand-over.
It is no longer news that “bookmakers” backed by some Western interests have projected 2015 as the year of Nigeria’s break-up. All eyes were on Nigeria as tension grew day by day in anticipation of the presidential election. The already charged atmosphere was further worsened by activities and utterances of some individuals and groups all over the country, from the former Niger Delta militants' threat to set the rest of Nigeria ablaze should the incumbent president lose in the election, to the members of Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra calling for the sack of the INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, and the protests against the general election in some southwestern states by the members of the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC). Nigerians became more apprehensive and scared of what could happen after the declaration of the election results.
Most southerners residing in the north abandoned their homes and fled to their villages, while northerners residing in some of the eastern states fled in anticipation that hell would be let loose regardless of the presidential election outcome. Nigerians stayed glued to their television sets and radio boxes as the results of the presidential election from different states rolled in for collation. As soon as it became obvious that General Muhammadu Buhari, the APC presidential candidate, took the convincing lead, what came into the minds of many Nigerians was: “the hour is finally upon us”. We expected the president to contact his Niger Delta militant boys to begin the process of setting the whole country in “fire” with the OPC unleashing terror in the southwest, while Boko Haram intensified their act of bombing in the north.
But Nigerians and the international community who thought Nigeria would be turned into a theater of chaos and pandemonium had a new song to sing as soon as Jonathan gave a call to General Muhammadu Buhari to congratulate him on his victory even before he was declared winner by the INEC. That phone call made by Goodluck Jonathan at exactly 5.15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, marked a significant turning point in the democratic journey of Nigeria. The destiny of the nation was rewritten as the fears of many were not only allayed, but also a relief of hope became certain. The whole world learnt that Nigeria and indeed entire Africa are politically mature to handle our affairs without any form of interference or “help” from the so-called “super powers”. That presidential phone call has dowsed the prevailing tension and normalized our polity.
Irrespective of what anyone might think about the incumbent president and his administration, Goodluck Jonathan has written his name in the history with golden ink. He would be remembered as one of the few African presidents who conceded defeat following free and fair electionб and the one who has left his footprints on the sand of time being the first Nigerian president defeated at the polls. For creating the enabling and favorable environment for a credible election and allowing the votes of the Nigerian electorate to count, as well as for strengthening our democracy leading to the election of the fourth democratically-elected president of the Fourth Tepublic at his fourth attempt and on the fourth month of the year, Mr President deserves nothing but respect and a standing ovation from all Nigerians.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Legit.ng.