FORMER President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) clocked 61 on Tuesday, 20th November 2018 and celebrated it by presenting his autobiography entitled: My Transition Hours, at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
It was a massive political event which drew the attendance of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha (who represented President Muhammadu Buhari); former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his deputy and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; the leadership of the National Assembly, PDP and All Progressives Congress (APC) big wigs, as well as foreign dignitaries, notably former President John Mahama of Ghana.
The event was the celebration of a former President who was born into the lowly household of canoe makers in the creeks of the Niger Delta; a humble gentleman who was thrust into the dizzying orbits of political leadership, manoeuvred by the invisible hands of fate, thus inspiring millions of youth about the infinite possibilities of the Nigerian dream.
It was an opportune moment for GEJ to break his silence on momentous epoch of his reign as the President of Nigeria at one of its rosiest economic moments in history when its oil resources boomed till the last few months when it started plummeting. It was time for him to tell the nation what he did with the opportunity given him to lead 180 million Nigerians and how he strove to upgrade the infrastructure and agriculture of the country; a job that was commendably continued by the Buhari regime.
It was also the platform to narrate the factors that led to his loss of power to the APC led by Buhari (thus becoming the first incumbent Nigerian president to lose his re-election bid) and, most importantly, why he chose to concede to the winner despite the obvious warts and carbuncles of the election. If he had disputed that election it could have plunged Nigeria into great political upheaval.
We commend former President Jonathan for the courage to write this book and fill in the blank spaces in our history from his end between May 5, 2010 when he first assumed power and May 29, 2015 when he handed power over to President Buhari. We did not expect anything less from him.
Surely, Jonathan’s era was full of many successes and failures, but it ended with a flourish and the triumph of Nigeria’s unity and democracy because a leader withstood pressures and temptations and stood true to his eternal credo: “My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian”.
For this singular achievement, President Jonathan’s shadow will continue to grow throughout the African continent and beyond, and his footmarks will be deeply etched in the sands of our history long after he is gone.