President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday appealed to world leaders, international organisations and Nigerians to give maximum support to the administration of the President-elect, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), so that he could achieve his aim of moving the country forward.
Jonathan also explained that he decided to concede defeat in the March 28 presidential election because of his conviction that one does not have to scuttle national progress for personal ambition.
He said since assumption of office, he had been involved in settling political upheavals in some African countries and would not want Nigeria to experience what such countries had passed through.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, quoted the President as speaking at separate occasions with the new ambassadors of France, Mr. Denis Guaer; Senegal, Mr. Baboucar Sambe; and Ethiopia, Samia Zekaria Gutu.
The envoys were in the Presidential Villa, Abuja to present their letters of credence to Jonathan.
The President called on all Nigerians to do their utmost best to help the incoming President to succeed in leading the country to a greater height.
He also appealed for patience, understanding and cooperation from all stakeholders in Nigeria, saying Buhari would need those gestures to move the country to greater peace, security and progress.
Responding to the commendations that followed his decision to concede defeat in the March 28 presidential election, Jonathan told his guests that he acted out of his conviction that the unity, well-being and progress of the country must supersede personal ambition.
He said, “Democracy has to be nurtured to grow. Strong democratic institutions are the backbone and future of our democracy. They must be protected and nurtured.
“As for me, as a matter of principle, it is always the nation first.
“You need to have a nation before you can have an ambition. It should always be the nation first. You don’t have to scuttle national progress for personal ambition.
“Since I assumed duty, I have been involved in quelling political crisis in some African countries and I know what they passed through and what some are still going through.
“If you scuttle a system for personal ambition, it becomes a collective tragedy.”
Speaking with the new French ambassador, Mr. Denis Guaer, the President urged France to extend the support and assistance it gave to his administration to Buhari’s government.
“President Francois Hollande was our guest in Nigeria during the celebration of Nigeria’s centenary. He has been very supportive of the country in the fight against terrorism.
“I expect that the same warmth and goodwill will be extended to the incoming government. I expect that France will continue to work with the new administration, especially on issue of terrorism.
“The United Nations has been supportive as well. Our troops, supported by regional forces, have done very well in fighting the terrorists in recent times. What we need now is support to help our people get back on their lives,’’ he added.
The ambassadors were reported to have commended Jonathan for setting a record of humility, patriotism and courage in safeguarding the democratic process in Nigeria and Africa.