President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the former president, Goodluck Jonathan showed a great sense of patriotism when he called him to concede defeat while votes were still being collated during the 2015 presidential election.
Buhari said this at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he hosted the State House press corps to lunch as part of activities marking this year’s Democracy Day.
“When he made that famous call at 4.45 pm and said ‘Good evening Mr. President, I have called to congratulate you and I concede defeat’, I was silent for quite a while because I was surprised and he said ‘Did you hear me’,” the president said.
According to the president, he was very surprised because for someone who was a deputy governor, governor, vice-president and president for 16 years to concede that easily showed Jonathan’s “great sense of patriotism.”
Buhari added that a former military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, advised him to visit Jonathan to reciprocate for his “statesmanship and decision to save the Nigerian state from crisis”. The president added that during his visit to thank Jonathan, General Abubakar again advised that in order to make for an easy transition, he (Buhari) should set up a committee to meet with the outgoing ministers to begin the process of handing over at that level.
“Jonathan sincerely agreed to the suggestion and I got one of the best bureaucrats in the person of Ahmed Joda and told him to look round the country and come up with a team for the task.
“However, when Jonathan told his ministers what he had decided, they simply refused and said: ‘How can you hand over to Buhari when he has not been sworn in,’ and that was the end of that good intention,” the president recalled.