*How we stopped him from sending Buhari, Atiku,others to jail
*Tasks politicians to play by the rule
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA- THE General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee, has said former President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat in the 2015 presidential election and subsequently congratulated the winner and candidate of the All Progressives Congress,APC,Muhammadu Buhari, without its knowledge.
This came as the committee said but for his decision citing national interest above any other, the then President Jonathan, who was a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,would have arrested,prosecuted and possibly jailed key members of the then opposition APC,including Buhari, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar,for commiting treason againt the Nigerian state.
The revelation which is coming over three years after the 2015 election that saw Buhari defeating the then sitting president, was contained in the report the committee unveiled Tuesday,in Abuja, after a peace meeting it held with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC, Prof. Mamood Yakubu,heads of security agencies, and representatives of the country’s 91 political parties.
According to a report,tagged: “2015 General Elections: The Untold Story”, published by The Kukah Centre, the National Peace Committee said it didn’t convince Jonathan to concede defeat to Buhari contrary to popular media reports.
The committee which said its primary concern ” has always been how to get the defeated candidates to accept the outcome of the election by conceding promptly and unequivocally ” so that the winner would naturally have a much easier task to be magnanimous in victory,disclosed that “the committee in the evening of March 31 requested audience with President Jonathan at the Villa.”
Going further,the committee,in the report said:” As it awaited confirmation for the meeting with the president, the Committee Chairman, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, GCFR also put a call through to General Buhari who informed him that President Jonathan had only minutes earlier called to concede the elections.”
It added:”He particularly asked the Committee to please convey his good wishes to President Jonathan for his great act of statesmanship.
“Shortly after that, members of the committee who were greatly relieved, headed to the Villa where they met privately with President Jonathan and thanked him for his great courage.
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“At this point, the Buhari Campaign team were yet to address the press on the historic development and as such, many Nigerians got the news of the concession from General Abubakar’s brief media scrum with State House Correspondents which perhaps helped create the wrong, but widespread impression that the committee sat with President Jonathan at the Villa as the results came in and had directly prevailed on him to concede.”
The report also disclosed how Jonathan, in a meeting with the committee which has Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar as chairman,religious leaders and media mogul,Sam Amuka, as members, cited “national interest” as reason he stopped his earlier decision to press home with treasonable charges against the then APC presidential candidate, Buhari and other leaders of the party, over threats to form a parallel government if they didn’t win the election.
According to the 51-page document, Jonathan jettisoned the plan “in the interest of peace and national stability.”
Part of page 13 of the report reads: “A meeting with Jonathan was held at the Aso Rock Villa in the afternoon of Wednesday, March 25, 2015. At the meeting, he (Jonathan) raised some issues concerning the state of the nation, the threat of violence by the opposition (APC then) based on allegations that he (Jonathan) and his party were planning to rig the elections.
“He (Jonathan) noted that he took very seriously the threat by leading members of the opposition to form a parallel government in the event that they didn’t win the elections, but that he chose not to react to such apparent treasonable acts in the interest of peace.”
The report also detailed series of meetings held with leaders of the two major political parties in 2015- APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
2019: Play by the rules of the game, NPC tasks politicians
Meanwhile, ahead of the 2019 general elections, the National Peace Committee, led by former Head of State,General Abdulsalam Abubakar, has charged politicians in the country to play by the rule of the game.
The appeal came as the committee met with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC, heads of security agencies and chairmen of the 91 political parties,Tuesday,in Abuja.
Speaking with journalists shortly, after the meeting with INEC chairman, Processor Mamood Yakubu and the heads of security agencies in the country, General Abubakar said the essence of the meeting was not only to get briefings from the INEC and security heads but also listen to complaints of political parties and contribute appropriately towards a peaceful election.
According to him, the measure became necessary given that “if there’s no peace in any country, there would be no country at all.”
His words:”As you are all aware, we are approaching 2019 general elections and already you are very much aware of how politics has been heated as a result of which we decided to stop at nothing to ensure that there’s peace in the country and that the politicians play by the role of the game and also that security agencies and the INEC play their roles accordingly.
“This morning, we have interacted with INEC chairman and his staff, and also we have security agencies here who have one role or the other to perform in these elections.
“All in all,we have had briefing and this afternoon, we are going to meet with the political parties,the chairman of the INEC has told us that there are 91 registered political parties.
“In furtherance of ensuring that peace continue, we are going to listen to them,hear their complaints and and contribute to ensure that this politics is played accordingly.
“As you are very much aware,if there’s no peace in any country, there would be no country at all. So this the essence of this meeting,to ensure that we are on the same wavelength,to ensure that there’s peace in our country.”
At the moment, the committee which held the meeting with INEC chairman and heads of security agencies at Transcorp Hilton Abuja, has shifted to the National University Commission,NUC’s Auditorium, for the next phase of meeting with representatives of the country’s 91 political parties.
The meeting which was chaired by General Abdulsalam Abubakar, had Bishop Matthew Kukah,media mogul and Publisher of Vanguard Newspaper, Sam Amuka,in attendance.