Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, has called on Nigerians, world leaders and the international community to give their maximum support to the administration of the country’s President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
Jonathan stated this on Thursday in Abuja while playing host in separate audiences to the new ambassadors of France, Senegal and Ethiopia at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
According to him, such cooperation would help the incoming president to succeed in leading the country to greater heights of accomplishment while in office.
The president also urged Nigerians to be patient and craved their understanding and cooperation at all times, which he said, were attributes that Buhari would need to steer the ship of Nigeria to greater peace, security and progress.
Jonathan said: “Democracy has to be nurtured to grow. Strong democratic institutions are the backbone and future of our democracy. They must be protected and nurtured. As for me, as a matter of principle, it is always the nation first.
“You need to have a nation before you can have an ambition. It should always be the nation first. You don’t have to scuttle national progress for personal ambition.
“Since I assumed duty, I have been involved in quelling political crises in some African countries and I know what they passed through and what some are still going through. If you scuttle a system for personal ambition, it becomes a collective tragedy.’’
Responding to the commendation by the new ambassadors that he exhibited exemplary leadership by conceding defeat to Buhari in the March 28 general elections when he lost, Jonathan said that he acted out of his abiding conviction that the unity, wellbeing and progress of Nigeria were superior to his personal ambitions.
Speaking on Nigeria’s relationship with France with the new French ambassador, Mr Denis Guaer, the president urged France to extend the support and assistance it gave to his administration to the incoming administration.
He said: “President Francois Hollande was our guest in Nigeria during the celebration of Nigeria’s centenary. He has been very supportive of the country in the fight against terrorism.
“I expect that the same warmth and goodwill will be extended to the incoming government. I expect that France will continue to work with the new administration, especially on issues of terrorism.
“The United Nations has been supportive as well. Our troops, supported by regional forces, have done very well in fighting the terrorists in recent times. What we need now is support to help our people get back their lives,’’ he said.
In his response, the French envoy said: “Nigeria is not only an economic power in the world today, but also a great democratic example and it is all by your effort, Mr. President.
“The last elections and your response was truly a great achievement and you will always be remembered for it.’’
Ambassadors Boubacar Sambe, of Senegal and Samia Zekaria Gutu of Ethiopia, who also presented their letters of credence to Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, pledged to strengthen existing bilateral ties between Nigeria and their countries throughout their tenure in the country.