Former Head of State and Chairman of National Peace Committee on 2015, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for accepting the outcome of Saturday’s presidential election.
He told State House correspondents, after a meeting, on Tuesday, with Jonathan, at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, in Abuja, that his committee was pleasantly surprised, when it learnt that the Jonathan had already accepted defeat ahead of formal announcement of the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Abubakar confirmed that Jonathan, who was the standard-bearer of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at the presidential poll called his rival and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, at about 5:15 p.m., on Tuesday to congratulate him.
He said his committee was delighted with Jonathan, who, as a defeated incumbent, was gracious enough to congratulate his rival.
Accordingly, he said he was at the Presidential Villa, along with other members of the committee, including Cardinal John Onaiyekan, former Chief of General Staff, Ebitu Ukiwe, former president of the Nigerian Bar association (NBA) Mrs. Prescilla Kuye and business tycoon, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, among others to thank Jonathan for his statesmanlike conduct.
Abubakar said that the elections were peaceful, despite some hitches and appealed to all Nigerians to keep the peace.
He said: “At this moment, we thank Nigerians and the international community, who came to support us during the elections.
“We were at the middle of a meeting with the international observers to try to see how we can still douse the tension, when gladly I called Gen. Buhari that we are going to see him. He told me that Mr. President had called him at about 5:15 p.m. and congratulated him and conceded defeat.
“We were spell bound and the reason we have come here is to thank President Jonathan for this statesmanship. In the history of Nigeria, I think this is the first time, where a contestant has called his rival to congratulate him and through this point, President Jonathan maintained a point; that the blood of Nigerians is not worth his presidency, and by his action he has proved that.
“He has proved that he is a man of his word, because during our interaction on this peace committee, he has always maintained that he is going to accept the result of the elections. And he has proved this.”
He urged all Nigerians to co-operate with Jonathan towards a peaceful handover. He also appealed to politicians, who might be aggrieved, to explore the legal option rather than resort to violence.
“In any contest there is always going to be a winner and President Jonathan has accepted that he lost and we want to thank him. On behalf of Nigerians, I want to thank President Jonathan for being the statesman that he is. He has approved that he is a statesman and he has the love of this country at heart.