Against the backdrop of claims in some quarters that former President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat after the 2015 Presidential elections out of pressure, the former president has said that he took the decision to concede based on his own personal conviction that it was the right thing to do.
Jonathan spoke Saturday at the graduation ceremony of Bingham University in Nasarawa State where he and ex-head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon were awarded honorary doctorate degrees.
His words, “I understand from the Vice Chancellor’s speech and the citation that I was selected for this award because I ensured a peaceful and united country during my tenure as President especially during the 2015 general election.
“I thank the University for appreciating that single act. It is my belief that no one’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.
“And I am fulfilled knowing that my conceding while the votes were still being compiled, which was born out of my personal principles and convictions, is generating positive impact in other countries.
“Let me make it clear, that I was not persuaded to do so by anyone within or outside the country. I know it was the right thing to do.”
“My mantra ‘my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian’ is my vow’.
“It was not just a political slogan. One of the reason I convened the 2014 National Conference was to come up with a polity devoid of tension and crisis.
“A polity that will bring unity to this country; A polity that will not divide us along tribal, ethnic or religious lines”.
Jonathan condemned the action of some politicians who he accused of sending their own children abroad, only to recruit children of other people as thugs to fight and die during elections because of their unquenchable ambition, stressing that such acts were against human dignity.
Furthermore he said, “I believe in a peaceful Nigeria and since my award today is based on my commitment to peace, I have a simple message to my fellow graduands and indeed the entire student body.
“For the young men and women that are receiving their degrees and certificates in this convocation, we are handing over the baton of leadership to you.
“You must unite and embrace peace for us to have the Nigeria of our dreams”.
Explaining his decision to accept the award, Jonathan said, “During my service as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I had many invitations from national and international institutions to be honoured but I declined because I believe one is better honoured after service.
“The only Honorary Doctorate Award I accepted in the country was from my Alma Mater, the University of Port Harcourt when I was a Vice President.”
Jonathan commended the university authorities, saying: “By imparting knowledge through this institution, you are saving lives and advancing the cause of education in Nigeria.
“I was mindful of this duty during my time in office which is why my administration made it a practice to give education the highest sectorial allocation in the federal budgets between 2011 and 2015.
“It was also for this reason that we made sure that we established twelve Federal Universities in the twelve states that had none. Incidentally 9 of such states are right here in Northern Nigeria,”