By Martins Oloja on April 1, 2015
PRESIDENT Goodluck Ebele Jonathan yesterday took a step that has made him greater than all others before him.
By calling and congratulating Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) even before the final tally, he has demonstrated to the world that indeed Nigeria has come of age.
He has shown the world that the black man is no longer in a dilemma. As it was written in this newspaper last Friday, the management and outcome of this election would affect the profile and indeed, image of the black man in global context.
The reason is not far to seek: Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world. Jonathan set the tone for greatness on Saturday, March 28 when he waited patiently for the fourth card reader to work for him and his wife in Otueke on the day of the election.
The Number One citizen who has been criticised for his simplicity was statesmanly in his response to questions after his ordeal. He was unruffled even when his wife who was in front was always looking back to hear her husband’s presidential outburst. The man was ununfazed, cool and collected.
He even did some strategic public relations for the election management agency as he asked people to be patient with the implications of new technology of the card reader.
All told, the fact that Jonathan nominated Jega who conducted the 2011 election and allowed him to conduct the 2015 elections is remarkable.
The president was said to have resisted the pressure of his henchmen and hawks in his party to send Jega on pre-retirement leave before the election at the weekend.
Since last night when the news of Jonathan’s congratulatory message broke, it has been all praises for the President as that gesture was unexpected and unprecedented.
No incumbent president had lost an election and congratulated the winner in our political history. Even General Abdusalami Abubakar who handed over to Obasanjo on May 29, 1999 confirmed this yesterday when he emerged from a peace meeting with the defeated president.
In an analysis in this newspaper’s special publication on Friday, it was projected that if Jonathan lost the reelection bid and bowed out seamlessly, he could be a candidate of the prestigious MO Ibrahim’s leadership Prize next year.
As it was written then, Jonathan has by his action threatened to assume office of a great man, a rare phenomenon in Nigeria. It is generally believed that there are too many big men in Nigeria and too few great men.
Now, the man from Otueke can beat his chest to General IBB who annulled the famous June 12 election result in 1993 that he has deepened democracy in Nigeria by organising the most credible election in our history. He can also tell General Olusegun Obasanjo that he (Jonathan) has greater democratic credentials by being the first to pave the way for the most peaceful election that he contested and lost. He can add to the Ota big man that to me, ‘election is not a do-or-die affair, after all’.
The first Nigeria’s president with a doctorate degree can also tell even General Gowon that he is sure someone will nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize for making the Nigerian voter to feel very important and influential for the first time. Now the Nigerian voter can look into the seed of time and nurture a glimmer of hope that his vote will count after all whenever he casts it!
Above all, the international community that has observed, seen and assessed the quality of this election will now respect Nigeria as the good image of the black man.
Indeed, Jonathan will leave Aso Villa on May 29 with his head high because he has done what Napoleon could not do! He has become a legend!