President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, hailed former President Goodluck Jonathan as a man of peace, commending him (Jonathan) for conceding defeat in 2015 without prompting.
Buhari said he was aware that Jonathan took the decision without any pressure.
Buhari, who spoke in Abuja at the presentation of Jonathan’s book, My Transition Hour, commended him for being a true democrat and a patriotic leader, saying his call to him doused tension.
Buhari, who was represented at the occasion by Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said: “I want to openly as I have done on several occasions salute the statesmanship, sportsmanship and courage embedded in the person of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who in 2015 without any pressure conceded defeat in the presidential election even when the compilation of the results was still in progress.
“Your singular act of placing the call to me doused and calmed frayed nerves all over the country and I sincerely thank you for being a true democrat and a patriotic Nigerian.”
Buhari recalled that he and Jonathan were parties to a pact to ensure that the 2015 election was free and peaceful.
He noted that throughout the campaign period, Jonathan kept reiterating that no blood should be shed because of his ambition.
The President said history has recorded Jonathan as the fifth democratically-elected President of Nigeria and history will also judge him well as a patriotic leader.
He said: “It is important to restate that in the run-up to the elections, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and I were parties to a pact to ensure that the 2015 General Elections were free and credible. The outcome of that election has placed Nigeria as a leader of democracy in Africa.
“In his desire for peace and non-violence, Jonathan kept reiterating that no Nigerian blood should be shed for selfish reason.
“With this book being launched today, Nigerians, historians and scholars now have a personal account of what transpired during the transitional hours.”
He added: “It is difficult to imagine what went through the minds of Dr Jonathan during those long hours when variety of counsel for and against was being offered. As the fifth democratically elected president, history will judge you well and favourably.”
The President said he had been committed to ensuring that service to Nigerians was placed above every other consideration.
“Looking at the past three years, my administration has demonstrated that service to Nigerians transcends party lines and political affiliations.
“That is of course the reason why my administration remains committed to serving the nation by completing different projects that were started by previous administrations.”
He further described the former President as a leader of the past, present and future, saying he would rise again.
As the 2019 general elections draw nearer, Buhari called on all politicians not to see election as a declaration of war.
He urged them to eschew bitterness, falsehood and bigotry among other vices.
“In another 87 days from today, Nigerians will be electing new leaders in another general elections, I call on all political leaders to see elections based on principles and aspirations that will outlive the nation.
“Elections should not be a declaration of war rather cement our brotherliness and nationhood.
“Let me express my personal appreciation for what you have done for this country. You are a leader of the past, you are a leader for now. Rest assured, you are a leader of the future. You will rise again,” he added.