•2014 Confab meant to unit Nigeria
Bingham graduates 19 first class, 486 2nd class upper
The ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has said that he was not pressured to relinquish power after he was defeated in last year’s presidential election.
Jonathan in a historic and a pacesetting move in Africa, called the then All Progressive Congress (APC) opposition candidate President Muhammadu Buhari to congratulate him before the counting of votes were officially tallied and announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But Jonathan, while speaking at the 2nd combined convocation ceremony of Bingham University, Nasarawa state, said he made the move to save the tensed situation around the country at that moment from degenerating.
The former president insisted that nobody outside or within Nigeria asked him to concede defeat in the 2015 general elections to President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, calling of Buhari to concede defeat was done out of his personal principle that no blood of any Nigerian was worth his political ambition.
This act, he said, had already started having effects on global politics as world leaders now willingly concede defeats to their opponents when they lose elections.
He said: “It is my believe that no one’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian and I am fulfilled knowing that my conceding while the votes were still being compiled was borne out of my personal principle and conviction generating positive impact on other nations.
“Let me make it very, very clear, nobody within or outside the country persuaded me to do that.I know it is the right thing to do. My ambition is not worth the blood of Nigerians. It was not just a political slogan.”
Jonathan also said he convened the 2014 national conference to help unite the country together and avoid the creation of tension and crisis in the polity.
“One of the reasons why I convened the 2014 National Conference was to come up with a polity devoid of tensions and crisis, a polity that will bring unity to this country. A polity that will not divide us along tribal, ethnic, and religious line.
“I have seen politicians whose children school and live abroad mobilize children of others as thugs during elections. They don’t care whether they die or not. This is against human dignity. And we should uphold our vows as a nation of great people who love and respect one another.”
The former president and an ex- military head of state, Yakubu Gowon were honored with a Doctor of Letters (Honaris Causa) by the university.
Gowon was awarded the degree by the university in “recognition of his commitment and selflessness to Nigeria, Africa and humanity, while Jonathan was honoured by the Senate of the university in recognition of”his self-abasement and prized patriotic humility and love for peace.”
“I believe in a peaceful Nigeria and since my award today is based on my commitment to peace, I have to spread peaceful message to my fellow graduands and indeed to the entire student body of this university. Because you know with this award today, myself and Gen. Yakubu Gown (rtd) are also alumnus of this university,”Jonathan said.
He appreciated the university for the award, while disclosing that he turned down international honours during his time as president because he felt such awards were better received after serving one’s nation.
“I declined because I believe one is better honoured after service,” he said.
Speaking further, the ex-president said Nigeria as a country must overcome its economic and political challenges.
The current economic challenges, he said, are temporary which the country will overcome with the help of its citizens.
“Nigeria is a great nation. Challenges whether political or economic are temporary. With commitment from the citizens, we can overcome those ephemeral setbacks.
“Whatever we are facing is very, very temporary. We are a very, very resilient people and Nigeria will continue to be a leading African nation,” he added.
In the same vein, the Nasarawa state Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, said Jonathan’s conceding of defeat saved lives and changed the political landscape of Nigeria.
Al- Makura, who was represented by his Deputy, Silas Agara, said: “President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement that his ambition is not worth the lives of any Nigerian saved the lives of many, calmed nerves and changed the political landscape of Nigeria.”
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Kursim Leonard-Fwa, said the institution graduated 19 first class, 486 second class upper, 856 second class lower, 213 third class, 19 pass degree students.
Danung Simtong Langchel from the department of Computer Science emerged the best graduating student at the convocation.
He added that the university graded 85 qualified medical doctors.