NIGERIAN President, Muhammadu Buhari, has praised former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, saying that he was yet to recover from the shock of the concession call Jonathan made to him before the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.
He said he respect the former president for the gesture because he never expected that someone who had been in power for 16 years would willing give it up in that manner.
Speaking in Abuja on Monday at a luncheon with State House correspondents to mark his first one year in office, he observed that Jonathan’s action was an act of generosity and patriotism.
He said: “This is where I pay my respect to former President Goodluck Jonathan. This is actually privileged information for you. He called me at a quarter past five in the evening. He said good evening your Excellency Sir and I said good evening.
“He said I have called to congratulate you that I have conceded defeat. Of course there was dead silence on my end, because I did not expect it. And he said, “did you hear me?”
“I was shocked. I did not expect it because after 16 years, the man was a deputy governor, governor, Vice President and was President for six years. For him to have conceded defeat even before the result was announced by INEC. I think it was an act of generosity and great patriotism.”
The president revealed that former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who had also learned of the call, reached out to him (Buhari) and advised that they go to the presidential villa at once to thank Jonathan.
“Abdulsalami recognised the generosity of Jonathan to concede defeat and said we should go and thank him immediately and I agreed. That was the first time I came here (villa),” he added.
The president also spoke on the issue of corruption, saying that government has decided talk less on corruption in order to allow the judiciary to do their jobs.
He said less talk was also necessary so that government could recover as much stolen funds as possible.
The president said he was also shocked at the level of looting under the previous government as he observed that officials shared money meant for arms purchase among themselves.
He stated: “People were trusted and the most recent one which we haven’t recovered from is the $2.1billion, given by the government then, to the military to buy hardware to fight the insurgency which had taken over parts of the country and they just sat just like you are sitting now and shared the money into their own accounts.
“They didn’t even bother. So, we are still trying to get the cooperation of the international community and so on and we have to do it with a lot of respect to the judiciary.
“We can’t go out and talk too much. We have to allow the judiciary to do their work. We give them the facts, the names, country, bank accounts.
“If you talk too much, technicalities will come in. Then, we will realise less than what we want to realise.”