Ex-president Goodluck Jonathan yesterday while speaking to Friends of Africa Coalition on “Strengthening Democracy and Elections” at the mayor’s office in Newark, New Jersey in United States touched the important issue of the legacies of his administration.
The former president while addressing the group noted that the 2015 general election had the potential to have caused a blood bath and political unrest in the country noting that the country was then almost in a divide of Christian vs Muslims and the North against the South.
“Some pundits even from here in the United States said that those elections would spell the end of Nigeria and that we would cease to exist as a nation because of the polls. That is where the leadership question comes into play.
“As a leader that was duly elected by the people, I considered the people’s interest first. How do I manage my people to avoid killings and destruction of properties? With the interest of the people propelling all the decisions I took, we were able to sail through. Indeed, we sailed through because I refused to interfere with the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, having appointed a man I had never met in my life to run it.
“My philosophy was simple. For elections to be credible, I as a leader, must value the process more than the product of the process. And the citizens must have confidence in the electoral body,” he added.
Jonathan also at the meeting noted that his adherence to the rule of law enabled the country avoid unnecessary unrest, ensuring peace, prosperity and progress.
He continued to say: “I am proud to say that while I took over a Nigeria that was the second largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $270.5 billion in 2009, I handed over a Nigeria that had grown to become the largest economy in Africa and the 24th largest economy in the World with a GDP of $574 billion.
“I inherited a Nigeria in which the trains were not working, and handed over a Nigeria in which citizens can safely travel by trains again. I inherited a Nigeria that was a net importer of cement, and handed over a Nigeria that is a net exporter of cement. In 2009 the richest Nigerian was the 5th richest man in Africa, but I handed over a Nigeria that produced the richest man in Africa.
“These are but a few of the parameters that illustrate some of the economic transformations we engineered during my term in office.”