Former President Goodluck Jonathan delivered a speech today at Bloomberg Studios, London with the title ‘Democratic Rule and Economic Development in Nigerian and Africa’.
Dr Goodluck Jonathan delivering his speech in London today, June 6
Accompanied by his former media aide, Reno Omokri and senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District, Ben Murray-Bruce, Jonathan spoke on his experiences as Nigeria’s leader from 2010 to 2015.
Bruce and Omokri are attending the event alongside Jonathan
Jonathan expressed hope and optimism that upcoming leaders in Nigeria and Africa will learn from his experiences in order to cultivate and consolidate Africa’s democratic journey.
His words: ”I said before the last election that my political ambition was not worth the blood of one Nigerian.
”I was true to my word when on March 16th, 2015, just after the election, when the results were still being collated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I called my opponent, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) to concede, in order to avoid any conflict and ensure a peaceful transition of power.
‘‘This was without precedent in my country and I am proud that it achieved my goal of no conflict arising from the result of the election.
”Some may think it is ironic that perhaps my proudest achievement was not winning the 2015 Presidential Election. By being the first elected Nigerian leader to willingly hand over power via the ballot box, to the opposition party, without contesting the election outcome, I proved to the ordinary man or woman in the country that I was his or her equal.
”That his or her vote was equal to mine, and that democracy is the ‘Government by the will of the people’, and Nigeria, and indeed Africa is ripe for democracy.”
According to the former president, improving democratic tenets in Africa was the key foreign policy objective of his administration.
He cited his government’s role in brokering peace and restore democracy in Niger, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Cote d’Ivoire.
Jonathan also informed the gathering that his focus now is his foundation which he said is focused on upholding democratic principles, promoting peaceful political transitions and supporting citizen entrepreneurship and intra-Africa trade.
”We will achieve this by working with African Governments, the private sector, civil society and other friends of Africa to galvanize action towards improving our societies and making a change in the lives of the ordinary people in our various countries.
”We will work for good governance by promoting credible and transparent elections, as well as peaceful power transfers. I have no doubt that this is the basic requirement we need for strengthening our institutions and enthroning stability.
”Our interest in youth and women entrepreneurship is driven by the urgent need to create jobs for Africa’s teeming young population,” Jonathan said.