Over seven months after he ensured a peaceful and smooth transition to a new government in Nigeria, former President Goodluck Jonathan is still receiving accolades for his elder statesmanlike attribute.
The latest, which came from Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Mr Kamalesh Sharma, who saluted the ex-Nigerian leader when he (Jonathan) visited him at Marlborough House, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Dr. Jonathan not only conducted one of the most peaceful and widely acknowledged free, fair and credible polls, he conceded defeat to his opponent, President Muhammadu Buhari – a rare feat among African leaders, who are notorious for holding on to power at all costs.
Welcoming Jonathan to Marlborough House for the first time, Sharma thanked him for his able leadership of the recent Commonwealth Election Observer Group (COG) to Tanzania, and subsequently, for his services to the Commonwealth as his Special Representative following the annulment of the elections in Zanzibar.
The former president briefed the Secretary-General on the activities of the Observer Group in Tanzania and lauded the Commonwealth Secretariat for supporting him with a team that displayed a high level of team spirit and professionalism.
Jonathan further welcomed the opportunity to be of service to the Commonwealth as the leader of the COG, describing it as “a great honour, both for him, and for Nigeria”.
The former president, however, expressed worry about the growing uncertainty in Zanzibar following the cancellation of the October 25 general elections.
Nonetheless, he was hopeful that the leaders of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania in East Africa, would put the national interest and that of its people first, as they seek a sustainable and peaceful solution to the impasse in the ongoing national dialogue.
Jonathan further assured Mr Sharma that he would continue to take an interest in developments in Zanzibar as his Special Representative.
He also commended the Commonwealth for its efforts in promoting peaceful and credible elections globally, and especially in Africa and pledged to work with the organisation in the promotion of democracy and good governance, and in countering violent extremism on the continent.
The Commonwealth has a longstanding and historical engagement with the archipelago whwere it played a crucial role in resolving previous crisis, leading to the Muafaka agreements in 1999 and 2001.
The appointment of Jonathan as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, is seen by analysts as an affirmation of the former president’s commitment to democracy.
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