The Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President, Mr. Reuben Abati, says President Goodluck Jonathan was able to outsmart the All Progressives Congress by quickly conceding defeat and congratulating the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.
Abati said prior to the presidential election, the APC had threatened to form a parallel government and had even predicted that Jonathan would be like former Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to leave office despite losing and was eventually dragged before the International Criminal Court.
However, Abati said in an article titled, ‘Right of Reply: Olusegun Adeniyi’s Trip to Babel,’ which was published on his official website, that Jonathan would forever be remembered as a hero who put his opponents to shame.
He said, “By his very unusual and highly symbolic act of graceful concession, President Jonathan snatched glorious victory from the jaws of seeming defeat. He outsmarted his traducers and became, overnight, a hero of global proponents of true democracy in Africa.
“While many of his opponents seemed obsessed with power at all costs and by all means possible, by calling General Buhari to concede victory, President Jonathan fully lived up to his often-stated conviction that the country is more important than individual ambitions and that leadership should be more about sacrifice than the pursuit of self-interest.
“Some had threatened that he would end up like Cote d’Ivoire’s Laurent Gbagbo. He proved to be a much better student of history. They promised that if his electoral defeat which they had dictated as inevitable did not come to pass, they would instigate chaos and confusion, form a parallel government and make Nigeria ungovernable, hang it all on his head and send him to the International Criminal Court.
“In the end, he short-circuited their conspiracy and showed that he belongs to a global hall of honour, not infamy.”
Abati denied reports that Jonathan was pressured into conceding defeat. He said Jonathan had already started moving his belongings out of the presidential villa since April 1, when the Independent national Electoral Commission announced the results.
The presidential spokesman said the Peoples Democratic Party was still facing the trauma of defeat. He, therefore, urged commentators and members of the public to let the party grieve in peace rather than continue to heat up the polity.
Abati admitted that the Jonathan era saw about six different PDP chairmen. He, however, said Jonathan could not be blamed for the development.
He said, “Contrary to insinuations, they (PDP chairmen) were not removed by President Jonathan. Okwesilieze Nwodo was removed by a court of law due to Enugu State politics. Dr. Haliru Bello who served as acting chairman after him was later appointed Minister of Defence in 2011. Alhaji Abubakar Baraje succeeded Bello also in acting capacity to complete Nwodo’s aborted tenure. The story of the exit of Vincent Ogbulafor and Bamanga Tukur equally has nothing to do with the President,” he said.