President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday in Abuja called on the global community and Nigerians to support the incoming government of president-elect Muhammadu Buhari.
Receiving members of the African Ambassadors Group, who were on a farewell and solidarity visit to the State House, the President said the incoming government will need the cooperation and commitment of the global community and Nigerians to effectively deliver on its promises to the people.
“The president-elect is not new to governance in Africa, so I want you to show the same commitment to him as you have to me. The president-elect knows that our commitment is always to project Africa. I am urging you to extend the same warmth and solidarity you have shown to me to him,” he said.
Jonathan further enjoined African leaders to encourage trade within the continent by building infrastructures and institutions that promote trade and relationships.
The President recalled working extensively for more than five years with other African Presidents to forestall crisis in some African countries, especially in the West African sub-region, and also leading peace efforts in some of the countries like Cote ‘d’Ivoire, Mali and Guinea Bissau.
“I have been involved in solving many problems in African countries for more than five years and I know the enormity and cost of conflicts, especially on the citizenry. We cannot afford that in Nigeria.
“If we were to have a political conflict in Nigeria, I am not sure the sub-region will be able to accommodate our citizens. My commitment is to always put the country before my personal ambition and that is what I have demonstrated,” he said.
President Jonathan, who said he would always be committed to strengthening democracy in Nigeria and Africa, noted that his decision to concede victory was to show example to the world that democracy can survive and thrive in Africa without conflicts.
“I believe that character matters in leadership. And it is not just about who becomes the president of a country, but somebody has to be there and the person needs the support of all to succeed. I made a choice to keep the country away from conflict.
“I have always advised other African leaders that we will need to have a country before we can have the ambition to become presidents. We don’t have to expose our people to deaths because we want to stay in power. Some people hold on to power, may be, for fear of the unknown,” Jonathan added.
In his remarks, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Nigeria, His Excellency Oubi Bochir, commended President Jonathan’s high sense of patriotism, statesmanship and transparency in the last general elections, saying that he won the heart and minds of all Nigerians and Africans after the elections.
“Let us make it clear, that within the Nigerian and African context and the example your Excellency has set, there was no loser in the elections but winners. The President-elect by winning the majority of votes, and the incumbent in establishing a long lasting legacy by winning the hearts and minds of all Nigerians and Africans,” he said.
Mr. Bochir, who is the Ambassador of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) to Nigeria, extolled President Jonathan for making a single phone call that saved the country from political conflict, restored confidence in African democracy and left a benchmark for other countries to follow.
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps was accompanied on the visit by eight other ambassadors from Cameroon, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, Namibia and Ethiopia.
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