Former Special Adviser to the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan on Inter-Party Relations, Chief Ben Obi, has revealed real reason his principal bowed out honourably even before the results of the 2015 general elections were announced.
Ben Obi said that the outcome of the All Political Parties Summit of January 14, 2015, known as the Abuja declaration and the National Peace Committee led by a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar were instrumental to Jonathan conceding defeat.
Other factors were the roles played by the then UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, his predecessor, Kofi Annan and others.
Obi, now National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also praised Jonathan for his magnanimity and patriotism by conceding defeat, describing him as a great African statesman.
This was part of his acceptance speech, after being honoured with the 2017 Nelson Mandela Leadership Award, at this year’s Nelson Mandela International Roundtable on Political Development, organised by Save Democracy Group, SDG, Africa.
He started by noting that there may not have been successful transition if the former President had not approved the summit leading to the composition of the National Peace Committee.
He added, “I also want to place on record the magnanimity of former president Jonathan through who I applied to hold this support and my application was quite clear on the end result; so, it is an application that Jonathan could easily have minuted upon saying, ‘SA rejected or SA not approved.’
“At that time, the whole world was expecting that the country would go up in flames and go into blazes but former president Jonathan gave the go ahead for that to happen and it was also in the spirit of that, and because of the international personalities that we assembled here that it was easy to put in place a smooth transition that he did not wait for INEC to complete the announcements of results before he picked up his phone and congratulated General Muhammadu Buhari as he then was.
“I am particularly delighted that President Buhari has always made mention of this great feat of Jonathan. So, to that extent, I see Jonathan as a great African statesman.
“When we finished the summit, Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ki Moon, sent his representative to personally come and congratulate me from Senegal; Ambassador Ibn Chambas who flew in congratulated me for this feat and to ask me to organize the National Peace Committee, which I did in conjunction with Bishop Mathew Kukah.
“We went to John Cardinal Onaiyekan and assembled the list of those who today are members of the National Peace Committee with General Abdulsalami Abubakar as chairman and Ebitu Ukiwe his deputy. This was how we were able to transit power from Jonathan’s administration to the Buhari’s administration.”