Former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has offered fresh insights into why he conceded defeat to the opposition in the 2015 presidential election.
According to him, the decision was taken to pull the country back from the brink of a major explosion and avert bloodshed and disintegration.
Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan
He lost to the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari by 2.5 million votes.
While results of the poll were still being collated, Jonathan who ran on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) put a congratulatory phone call to Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In his 193-page book titled: ‘My Transition Hours’ launched in Abuja on Tuesday, Jonathan explained the events that informed his decision to conceded defeat.
Chapter Eight of the book: ‘Presidential Election’, specifically captures the last six weeks before the election.
Explaining how his decision saved Nigeria, Jonathan wrote: “Some hours into election, I received some disturbing signals INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) officials in Southern Nigeria were insisting on the use of card readers, while in the Northern part of the country, the decision to use card reader had been de-emphasised.
“It was clear something was wrong somewhere. Tension was brewing in the country because the card readers were malfunctioning.
“The disintegration of Nigeria was a possibility if I had contested the results of the election, no matter how justified. There were justifiable grounds, but I was determined that Nigeria will not disintegrate during my tenure.
“The fate of thousands of Christians and Southerners in the North and my other Northern supporters, who were at the risk of being slaughtered if I took a selfish decision, lay heavily on my mind.
“Reprisals were certain to follow in the South. What rang persistently in my mind was the futility
of vanity. What would it profit me if I clung onto power and let my country slide into an avoidable crisis? Who would stop the impending crisis? Too many things were bound to go wrong.”
Jonathan said he could have contested the outcome of the election based on the educational qualifications for elections and electoral malpractices.
“I had every reason to contest the results, starting from educational qualification for elections and electoral malpractices. These were the facts in my hands, but there was also the question of worth. Was it worth it?
“Nigeria was at the brink of a major explosion. Many who could afford airline tickets had already sent or were planning to send their families overseas. Those who couldn’t afford to leave the country were sending their loved ones to neighbouring nations or their villages and towns.”
Jonathan also claimed that INEC compromised. He wrote that though the commission conducted a free and transparent election in 2011, it changed in 2015. Professor Attahiru Jega was the chairman of INEC.
“I had worked hard to consolidate and protect the independence of INEC that conducted an acceptable election in 2011. Can I tell the world that the same INEC had changed because of some interests? It was a burden for me as a sitting president to tell the world that the same INEC had performed differently in the 2015 elections,” he wrote.