21 November 2017
Former Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerian youths aspiring to take political position to emulate him by making sacrifice for the good of Nigeria, referring to his decision to concede the 2015 presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Jonathan made the statement at his country home in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, when students and youth groups including the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, and Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, among others, paid him a courtesy visit to mark his 60th birthday.
While speaking to the youths, the former President said his decision to concede the 2015 presidential election to his successor, President Buhari was for the peace and collective interest of the country.
His word “Sometimes things could be so challenging that we begin to think that that is over but what I have seen today I am convinced that we still have a country.
“All of your speeches centre on the position I took especially when I surrendered in a way and made sure there was peace in the country because the tension was quite high.
“You also made mention of some of the few things we did when I was in office especially relating to education and that is an area I can say we tried.
“My happiness is that this is a very enlightened youth group that are here today, more than fifty per cent of you are graduates and others undergraduates.
“So, am speaking to the future of this country, whatever sacrifices I have made as an individual or I discussed with my political party and others because elections is not only about one person. We know a number of persons that are in court, not even me yet who are suffering because of me.
“Politics is all about the people, so the decision I took, though I made the pronouncement, affected everybody. If we have made this kind of sacrifice and people are still sacrificing now, my plea with you is that you know that this country is in your hands, the hands of the young people, forget about those who are contesting or not contesting elections.
“Whatever sacrifices I have made be willing and ready to make similar sacrifices whenever it is your turn, make similar sacrifice for the collective interest of our nation.
“If one of the super powers and G5 nation like France can elect a 39 years old as president, then almost all of you here are very qualified to be president. And to add to what France did, I think Austria elected a thirty-one year old as president.
“So, don’t consider yourself too young. Even in our country, Gowon became a president at thirty-two and my governor then, the governor of Old Rivers State who is now the King of Twon Brass, was made the military governor at the age of twenty-eight and they all worked very well”.