4 August 2016
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the world will forget Nigeria if its citizens allow the country to be balkanised.
Jonathan said this on Wednesday while addressing State House correspondents shortly after his brief meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said he had always stood for a united Nigeria not because of its oil wealth, but because of the greatness of its human resource and the uniqueness of its diversity.
He said both qualities stood the country out.
The former president said he was not the only one suing for peace in the Niger Delta and in other parts of the country as all the traditional rulers, elders and opinion leaders of the Ijaw ethnic nationality are with him.
“You see, it is not just about me, but all the traditional rulers, elders and opinion leaders of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
“We have been in touch to see that peace reigns in the country because those of you, who were here when I was here, followed my thoughts.
“The emphasis is that we need a united Nigeria and I always emphasise that Nigeria is great.
“It is not because of oil.
“So many countries produce more oil than Nigeria, but nobody notices them.
“We are great because of our size, the human resources that we have, the diversity we have, and so, if we balkanise the country into small components, we will all be forgotten by the world.
“That has been my focal position.
“And without peace, you can never reap development anywhere in the world.
“So, we are all working collectively to see that these issues are resolved,’’ he said.
On the fight against corruption by the Buhari administration, Jonathan declined to comment, saying that most of the cases of alleged corruption were in court.
“There are too many cases that are in court and it will not be fair for me to comment.
“I have always said that at the appropriate time, when most of these things have been resolved, we will talk,’’ he said.
Jonathan, who is leading the AU election monitoring team to Zambia, said he was at the Presidential Villa to brief Buhari on the activities of the team.
He said: “I came to brief Mr President on some of my engagements in the immediate past and of course, the future.
“Of course you are aware that I would be leading the AU election monitoring team to Zambia; normally you need to properly brief the president.
“So, I came to brief the president on some of my external engagements; it is a tradition.’’
The former president further said that he is a regular caller to the Villa, having served as the country’s president at a point in time.
“One key thing is that having been the head of a government – a former president – you become a statesman.
“That is the privilege you have, but every privilege has its own corresponding responsibilities.
“And when you become a statesman, normally you brief the sitting president on most of your international engagements that have to do with public speaking and some other international assignments.
“Even when I was here, the former presidents used to do what I have come to do.
“I have been coming, but in most cases we used to meet at night.
“That is why you don’t see me,’’ Jonathan explained.