BUHARI: JONATHAN’S CALL TO CONCEDE DEFEAT IN 2015 SENT ME TO COMA
I got only 198,000 votes from south East, yet they have four ministers, by President
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday night said former President Goodluck Jonathan’s call to concede defeat to him in 2015 sent him (Buhari) to coma.
The President, again lauded Jonathan for conceding defeat in the last presidential election and described him as a great statesman.
He said having been in the saddle for five years, Jonathan had the capacity to cause trouble if he wanted to do so.
“The PVCs worked well in 2015. That was why when the former President rang me, I went temporarily into a comma.
“I will never forget the time. It was quarter after 5pm and he said he called to congratulate me and that he has conceded defeat. He asked if I heard him and I said yes and I thanked him for his statesmanship.
Speaking at a dinner where he hosted chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja on Thursday, President Buhari said:
“The truth is that after being a deputy governor, a governor, Vice-president and President for five years, and he took that decision; he is great.
“He could have caused some problems. He had stayed long enough to cause problems,” he added.
Buhari also debunked claims that he is ethnic-biased, explaining that while seven states of the North are only represented in his cabinet by ministers of state, the South East, where he got only 198,000 votes at the 2015 presidential elections have four substantive ministers as well as seven junior ministers
He told the APC chieftains that he was fully aware of the issues confronting the country and that he was only being guided by historical antecedents.
“I felt I had to invite you to let us eat together and I tell you that I am sitting here very much aware of the problem in this country. I will always reflect on historical antecedents.
Buhari again recalled his days in the military which he described as days he was quite reckless and young, including pronouncing ministers and governors guilty until they prove otherwise.
He said, “I keep telling people that while I was in uniform, quite reckless and young, I got all the ministers and governors, and put them in Kirikiri. I said they were guilty until they could prove their innocence. I was also detained too.
“I decided to drop the uniform and come back. Eventually, I am here. So really, I have gone through it over and over again.
“This is why I am not in a hurry virtually to do anything. I will sit and reflect and continue with my clear conscience.
Speaking further, he said contrary to claims that he is favouring the North as being speculated in some quarters, the President said, “There is something that hits me very hard and I am happy I hit it back at somebody.
“Seven states of the North are only represented in my cabinet by junior ministers, ministers of state.
“In South East, I got 198,000 votes but I have four substantive ministers and seven junior ministers from there.
“You are closer to the people than myself now that I have been locked up here, don’t allow anybody to talk of ethnicity. It is not true,” he said.
President further noted that during the days he struggled to become the President, he enjoyed the support of people of other ethnic groups and religious affiliation.
He stated, “There is one thing, I have disabused my mind in a dispassionate way about ethnicity and religion across the country. You know that tribunal for presidential election started at Court of Appeal. The President was my classmate. I missed only four of the court sittings.
“For that first phase, 2003, we were in court for 30 months. My legal leader was Chief Ahamba (SAN), an Igbo man. He asked the panel of judges to direct INEC to produce the voters register to prove that the election was done underground.
“When they came to write the judgment, they completely ommitted that. Another Igbo man, a Roman Catholic, in the panel of judges wrote a minority report.
“I went to the Supreme Court. Who was the Chief Justice? An Hausa Fulani, a Muslim from Zaria. After 27 months, Ahamba presented our case for two hours and 45 minutes. The Chief Justice got up and said they were going on break and when they returned the following day, they will deliver the judgment. They went away for three months. That was what made it 30 months.
“And when they came back, they discussed my case within 45 minutes.
“In 2007, who was the Chief Justice? A Muslim from Niger State. The third one (in 2011), who was the Chief Justice? My neighbour from Jigawa State. The same religion and the same tribe.”
Buhari said why he won the 2015 election was because of the commitment of Nigerians and the use of Permanent Voters Cards.
He emphasized the need for proper voter education, saying Nigerians must be told the need to choose the leaders of their choice.
The party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, urged Buhari to continue beyond 2019.
He said doing otherwise would mean that all what the President had struggled for would come to nothing.
“We are firmly, totally and completely behind you and when you make up your mind soon as I hope you will, you will find an army behind you.
“Those who wish you well are already working and it is my hope that you will agree eventually that continuity is important and critical. Otherwise, all what you have struggled for will come to nothing,” he said.
John-Oyegun said it was good that the President took time to put issues in the right perspectives.
He said the explanation showed that clearly that the President listens to what people are saying.
He said, “It has been such a terrible misrepresentation. You have seized this opportunity to say that you are not what people are saying.
“There are so much misconceptions. Look at the example you have given that those who stood by you through the periods of problems and struggles are not people of the same religious persuasion.
“You have said it that you are not an ethnic jingoist. I know this because I have known you for a very long time.
“For some of us, when these things are said, we find it painful but I hope there will be proper rendition of what you said today and it will start clearing the air.
“The only thing I will add is that you have had a most challenging 2017 in every respect, including your son’s predicament.
“It is our prayer that all the struggles you have been through, all the efforts you have put in for this country, the mind that you have to improve the lot of the ordinary man of this country, that we will begin to see results in 2018 and see the essence of the man, Muhammadu Buhari.”
Oyegun added, “For almost three years, you have laboured to reconstruct the broken foundation of this nation. You have laboured to put a new infrastructure without which development is impossible.
“They were just dipping hands in the treasury, the banks were just changing papers and collecting commissions and we all said we were developing and prospering. But it was not a development that touched the ordinary man of this country.
“For the first time, that is about to begin. It has taken three years of foundation laying and thank God the harvesting, I believe, is going to begin this year.
“It is my hope that it will come early enough for people to see that if one has to call anybody the architect of a modern Nigeria, you will bear that distinction.
“Like I said when we were launching the book of your achievements, what you started, you cannot complete. That is a matter of fact. But what you started is basic, fundamental that Nigerians must learn a new way of doing business based on their sweat from which profit will come based on their resources.
“When we are used to doing things wrongly, change becomes very difficult and we are passing through that stage now.
“It is not a struggle we can complete in four years or even eight years. But you have started something new and that change is not for nothing. It is even deeper than most of us understand. We must carry it on until it becomes second nature to us.”
Party chieftains who attended the dinner included Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, Chief Orji Kalu and Dr. Segun Oni among others.
The party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was conspicuously absent.