Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked politicians in the country not to allow their ambition lead to struggles that would set Nigeria on fire, but put the nation first in whatever they do politically.
Speaking at a one-day Peace Conference organized by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation on Thursday in Abuja, the former president said the world was watching Nigeria, adding that all effort must be made to make the forthcoming general elections violent-free.
He warned of dire implications for the African sub-region should the elections go wrong, stating that as part of his commitment to deepening democracy in Nigeria and the African continent, the foundation would continue to explore avenues to encourage African leaders on the virtues of service and sacrifice.
Speaking on the theme: “Peaceful Elections and National Development,” Jonathan called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to be professional in the discharge of their responsibilities before, during and after the elections.
“For democracy to endure and be productive on the continent, African politicians and other stakeholders must realize that true heroes of leadership are not those whose desperation to impose their will endangers society, but those who have the humility to subjugate their personal ambitions to the collective interest of their nation.
“Our political leaders must realize that the greatest and most enduring legacy to leave behind is that of peace and development.
“We are convinced that any one, either in government or outside government, who truly loves Nigeria, will not want to play the role of the villain by lending his support to any action that instigates crises.
“There is no gainsaying that when politicians resort to desperate measures in the bid to occupy important political positions, they run the risk of plunging their countries into serious crises that often lead to loss of lives, degradation of values as well as destruction of private and public assets,” Jonathan said.
A former Military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) also tasked the nation’s leaders to imbibe the lessons of 2015, stressing that while the enemies of Nigeria predicted doom; the nation disappointed them by conducting a transparent election that ushered in the incumbent government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We all recall the tension in Nigeria during the 2015 elections where the doomsayers were predicting the balkanization of Nigeria but thank God through the action of Nigerians and the then President, Goodluck Jonathan; they were proved wrong because the gentleman kept his word that his Presidency was not worth the blood of any Nigerian and he graciously conceded defeat at that election,” he said.
Present at the event were the Special Representatives of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas; the Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh; former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase; former governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna and former Defence Minister, Bello Haliru among others.