President Muhammadu Buhari has said he was shocked when former president Goodluck Jonathan called him to concede defeat while votes were still being counted during the 2015 election.
Mr. Buhari made the disclosure on Monday at the Presidential Banquet Hall, Aso Villa, Abuja, when he hosted the State House Press Corps to a lunch as part of activities marking this year’s democracy day.
President Buhari said another former military head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, advised him to visit Mr. Jonathan for his “statesmanship and decision to save the Nigerian state”.
Mr. Buhari also said Mr. Jonathan belonged to a party that was at the helms of affairs for 16 years and for him to still go ahead and concede “was definitely not an easy decision”.
The president added that during the visit to thank Mr. Jonathan, General Abdulsalami again advised that in order to smoothen the transition process, he (Buhari) should set up a committee to meet with the outgoing ministers of Mr. Jonathan to begin the process of handing over at that level.
“Jonathan sincerely agreed to the suggestion and I got one of the best bureaucrats, in the person of Ahmed Joda, and told him to look round the country and come up with a team for the task.
” However, when Jonathan told his government this is what I have decided, they simply refused and said how can you hand over to Buhari when he has not been sworn in.
“That was the end of that good intention,” Mr. Buhari said.
Those who attended the lunch include the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
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