Revealed: The Real Reason Goodluck Jonathan Conceded Defeat During 2015 Election
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has said that he would have won a re-election in 2015 but for the plots of former U.S. President, Barack Obama, and some Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governors and leaders, who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, a few months to the election.
Jonathan, who revealed the real reason he conceded defeat, also stated why he granted late former Bayelsa State Governor, DSP Alamieyeseigha presidential pardon, made the disclosures in his new book, ‘’My Transition Hours,’’ which was launched, Tuesday, 20th November, 2018 in Abuja.
For the first time, Jonathan said the 2015 presidential election was flawed and that he had many grounds to challenge the outcome but chose to side-step his personal ambition to avert bloodshed for the sake of democracy and Nigeria’s unity.
With a margin of 2.5 million votes, Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election to Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.
It was the first time an incumbent president lost a re-election in Nigeria.
Why I conceded defeat
“I was fully informed about the manipulations, intrigues, intimidation and betrayals. The consequences of not conceding were only better imagined.
My natural instinct for peace automatically surfaced. I was going to make a decision which reflected my commitment to that ideal. This is the foundation of my essence.
In my periodic projections into the future, I did not see how I would be presiding over any kind of chaos.
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I was prepared to promote the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria. “This is a huge sacrifice, but I hope my readers believe me when I say it turned out to be one of the easiest decisions I ever took while in office.
With my mind made up, I knew it was time to inject peace into the tensed polity, especially before INEC completed collation.
“I was in my living room with some ministers, aides and friends. Among them were the Coordinating Minister for the Economy/Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Mr. Osita Chidoka and Waripamowei Dudafa, my Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs.
“They were recommending sundry alternatives, but I was quiet in the midst of their discussion.
I hugged my thoughts, figuring out how to do that which was best for the country. My personal interest was receding rapidly and the interest of Nigeria looming large. I excused myself and left the sitting room.
I walked into my study. Even here, my mantra was a strong circle around me, supporting and comforting me. Let the country survive. Let democracy survive.
My political ambition is not worth people being ‘soaked in blood’. “More reports flowed in and I could not wait anymore. The announcement of the final result could take issues out of all our hands.
It was time for me to take action and bring peace to the nation. I felt I was destined by God at that point in time to inject the peace serum and douse the palpable tension in the country.
“I reached for the telephone and placed a call through the State House operators at about 4:45 pm.
A peace I had never felt since my political sojourn, descended on me. It showed me where I had been in the past 16 years and where I was then. I smiled at the thought of what I was about to do.
I waited calmly for the person at the other end of my call to answer. Buhari: “Hello Your Excellency!” Me: Your Excellency, how are you?”
Buhari: “I am alright, Your Excellency” Me: “Congratulations!” Buhari: “Thank you very much Your Excellency …”
“For several seconds the line was seized by the loudest silence I have ever known. Then we had a brief discussion. I could sense his relief too.
He knew what could have been. Here is a man who had contested three times and lost. Maybe my gesture humbled him against his expectations because he thanked me and we talked about the handing over processes.
“Everywhere all over Africa, Asia and other parts of the world, countless deaths have been recorded on the scores of elections and power disputes.
I mentioned Cote d’Ivoire earlier, where people died in their thousands during post-election violence. A similar scenario had unfolded in Kenya.
African nations are more prone to post-election violence than other parts of the world. Only very few African nations have not experienced post-election violence on a very grand scale or some bitter power tussle fed by tribal or ethnic sentiments.
“I hung up the phone, confident that my decision was right for Nigeria and would probably have a great impact on Africa.
This may well be the beginning of a new perspective to power; a perspective which places national interest above personal preference.
It should not always be about winning. “After my conversation with Muhammadu Buhari, which lifted my spirit greatly, I felt better and lighter; it was time to break the news to my Ministers and aides.
I wandered back into the living room. These are people I came to know after a period of time. I anticipated what their response would be.
“In my new found calm, I stood before them and told them what I had just done. The elections were over.
I had called and congratulated Muhammadu Buhari on his victory. It was time for all of us to move on. Stunned silence greeted the room for some time and after they overcame their shock, they all congratulated me.
“My Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, sought my permission to tweet my phone conversation with Muhammadu Buhari.
I obliged and he did. The country was no longer waiting for the declaration of the election results.
The nationwide tension automatically dissipated as though a red hot piece of iron had been dipped in a bowl of water.’’
Sleepless nights before the poll
The former president lamented that many persons within and outside his party aided and abetted his loss at the poll because of their actions and utterances, which tended to give the opposition an edge over him and the PDP.
Jonathan recalled with pains: “The previous six weeks had been the longest of my life and the climax finally came that cool morning of the 28th of March, 2015, the Presidential Election Day.
Skeptics and mischief makers had flown the non-existent kite of tenure elongation, interim government and all the other shenanigans they could come up with to blackmail my administration and make us look bad in the eyes of Nigerians and the international community.
Jonathan Blames US, UK for Defeat
The Obama role in 2015 In the book, a piqued Dr. Jonathan described Barack Obama’s message to Nigerians ahead of the 2015 general elections as overbearing and ‘condescending.’
According to Jonathan, the former U.S. president was very biased during the 2015 elections, by issuing a video appeal to Nigerians and almost advised them on which candidate to vote for.
He wrote: “On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing a video message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote. “In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the ‘next chapter’ by their votes.
Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government.”
He berated Obama for saying “all Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear,” but was reluctant to allow the Nigerian security forces drive Boko Haram insurgents away from the Nigerian territories they had been occupying in order to free Nigerian citizens there ahead of elections.”
Also, Jonathan did not spare the former U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, concerning the decision to postpone election in the overall interest of Nigeria.
“How can the U.S. Secretary of State know what is more important for Nigeria than Nigeria’s own government?
How could they have expected us to conduct elections when Boko Haram controlled part of the North-East and were killing and maiming Nigerians?
Not even the assurance of the sanctity of May 29, 2015 handover date could calm them down.
In Nigeria, the Constitution is very clear: No President can extend his tenure by one day,” he said.
Intense foreign pressure He continued: “The foreign pressure on the issue of election rescheduling was intense.
They maintained the curious posture of one who had been deceived before and, therefore, had every reason to cede no credence to our position. But there was no reason for such posture.
“The United States and the United Kingdom were especially agitated. David Cameron, then U.K. Prime Minister, called to express his concern about the election rescheduling, just as John Kerry came from the United States to express further worry.
It was at best unusual and sobering. “In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling.
It was unbelievable because at the back of our minds, we knew why the agitation was beyond what meets the eyes.
“There were deeper political interests. In attendance at the meeting of the Council of State where the decision to reschedule the election was taken were almost all the living former Heads of State in this country.
That should have convinced John Kerry of the good intentions of the government. “He cannot claim to love and defend Nigeria more than all our former heads of state present at the meeting.
I have stated earlier how Kerry’s visit was designed to humiliate a sitting Nigerian president and clearly take sides in the country’s election. ‘’Anyhow, the six weeks served us well.