Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Universal Peace Foundation, Peace-Loving Global Citizen award, Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, Peoples Democratic Party, Mike Ozekhome, Hakeem Baba Ahmed
President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday said he would vacate the Presidential Villa on Friday, May 29, the day President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, will be sworn-in.
He made this known while receiving members of the Universal Peace Foundation, who conferred on him the Peace-Loving Global Citizen award, at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
In apparent reference to the accolades he has been receiving for conceding defeat in the March 28 presidential poll, the president said both Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which provided the platform for his election four years ago, should also share in the accolades.
“My singular act has made you now to come and honour us. Not just me, I ran the election with the vice president and if we had won, two of us would have been here; but by that act, two of us are packing out on Friday.
“He equally deserves the encomium that you have given me. My party, the PDP, also deserves the encomium award”, he said.
President Jonathan said the predictions that Nigeria would break up by 2015 could have come true if he had not conceded defeat in the March 28 presidential election.
“Everybody knew about the predictions (that Nigeria will cease to exist by 2015). Anything could have made those predictions become true. After all, we fought a civil war for about three years before as a nation”, adding that “I cannot be a party to the disintegration of the country. I am quite pleased with what has happened. We have a country; the country will be more united”.
He said even if he would be president for 25 years, he would not be happy to see Nigerians killed because of his ambition.
“Yes, there are different human beings. If you look at the behaviour of people, even among siblings; some of them could turn to be imams and pastors; while some will be armed robbers.
“Even somebody that has that kind of criminal intention or he is very vindictive or who by nature doesn’t care if people are dying; even if half of his countrymen and women die for him to be a president, he’ll celebrate it.
“But for me, God did not create me that way, and I cannot fit in. I believe that for us to hold any office that we want to, we must have a nation”, the president said.
According to him, the years he had spent in public office had given him the experience no school could give.
He added that his commitment to national unity made him convene the National Conference to address the issues that could divide the country.
“We’ve our challenges. The idea of that National Conference is to look at these weak cleavages we’ve in this country.
“We just finished that conference and are thinking of how to implement its recommendations so that Nigeria will become a stronger and more united nation”, he said.
Jonathan called on President-elect Buhari to run a united country and appreciate the contributions of all Nigerians to national development.
“We only pray that the incoming government should appreciate the contributions of everybody and see how we can run Nigeria as a country that belongs to everybody – all citizens, irrespective of political affiliation or creeds”, he said.
On its choice of President Jonathan for the award, leader of the Foundation, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said he (Jonathan) was honoured in recognition of the peaceful manner he handled the aftermath of the 2015 general elections.
“Your action is heroic. In spite of the fact that you control the security apparatus of the country, you accepted defeat. You’re an extraordinary person.
“You should go back to Otuoke a very proud man. You came, you saw and you conquered. History will be kind to you because you gave meaning to democracy”, he said.