Former President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed that some of his close Ministers and aides advised against accepting defeat to Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential election.
He made this known in his book, “My Transition Hours”, which was presented in Abuja on Tuesday on his 61st birthday.
The former president said he turned down the advice of the then Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister Mohammed Bello Adoke; Aviation Minister Osita Chidoka, who was a compere at the book launch; and his Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs, Warpamowei Dudafa.
He said he conceded defeat principally because it was his belief that his ambition should not lead to loss of lives and property.
Jonathan wrote: “They were recommending sundry alternatives, but I was quiet in the midst of their discussions. I hugged my thought, 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 there, 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’.”
On how and why he called to concede victory to Buhari, he wrote: “More results 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 out for his 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 sixteen 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 end of my call to answer.
“My Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, sought my permission to tweet my phone conversation with 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 through a red-hot piece of iron had been dipped in a bowl of water. Thereafter, I addressed the nation.”