Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said Nigeria needs to get to a stage where it would no longer wait for court judgments to conclude elections.
Speaking at the 6th edition of African Ambassadors Interactive Forum, AAIF, and dinner, organised by African Third Sector Resource, ATSR, in Abuja, Mr. Jonathan noted that by conceding defeat before the 2015 election result was declared, he wanted to set a new standard for the nation’s democracy and prove a point that election related litigation should no longer define Nigeria’s democracy.
According to a report published by Vanguard, Mr. Jonathan was also presented the “African Leadership & Achievement Award,” at the event.
“I always say that I reformed the democratic process as President in order to consolidate democracy in Nigeria and the sub-region,” he said. “I conceded defeat without a fight because I wanted to set a standard for our democracy, going forward.
“My aim then was to change the narrative and prove that election related litigations should no longer define Nigeria’s democracy. People must not always go to court and obtain judgments before elections in Nigeria are declared complete.
“We don’t get to hear about such court cases in mature democracies. I wanted us to get to that point in our democratic experience. I thought that it won’t be out of place if we got to that stage where those who lost elections will be able to congratulate those who won.”
Mr. Jonathan said his commitment to the protection of lives and investments of Nigerian people, their assets and the economy made him concede defeat and avert looming crises.
The former president, who was represented at the occasion by the former Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Suleiman, recalled that already, some agencies in the United States had predicted Nigeria’s disintegration, following growing tensions on the land at the time.
He stressed that Nigeria and, indeed, Africa could have been doomed, if Nigeria was allowed to slide into anarchy.
A congratulatory phone call put through to President Muhammadu Buhari by an incumbent Mr. Jonathan after majority of the presidential poll results had streamed in in 2015 is believed by many to have averted a major crisis that would have ruptured the nation’s unity.