Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Between Conceding Defeat and Resisting Defeat

                                Former President Jonathan
There is no arguing the fact that the concession of defeat by ex-president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan prevented the country from another round of probable calamity or civil war. Before the general elections, the entire nation was tensed up like a time bomb waiting to detonate. For fear of the unknown, all economic, social and governmental activities were at a standstill. Many foreigners left the country for their countries.  Many Nigerians returned to their villages and state of origin to avert the possible crossfire that might engulf the country in the outbreak of violence.  Nigerians in the affluent class relocated their families outside the country pending the outcome of the general elections.
The seers of doom and prophets of victory all made prophecies and predictions about the possible outcome of the general elections. Prominent among such predictions was that of America which earlier foretold the imminent disintegration of the country in 2015; a prediction which they later recanted. But has 2015 gone? This is just the middle of the year. The contenders at the various political layers also received some prophecies-positive or negatives. The two major contenders at the presidency had avalanches of prophecies also in the negative and positives. There were myriad of prophecies that it became very difficult to tell which of them came to pass or not. In fact, the country was sitting on a keg of gunpowder waiting to explode. Nigeria was on the sword of Damocles as Nigerians were expectant of the possible outcome of the elections like an old woman expecting her first child. There were war clouds across the nation. In summary, the country was like a tethered animal trying to extricate itself.
However, the concession of defeat by former President Goodluck  Jonathan before the final result of the presidential election was released doused the tensed atmosphere that enveloped the country. Former President Jonathan conceded defeat because he is not an overzealous politician. He is not power drunk like some politicians who want power at all cost. From the outset he made his stand obvious by saying “Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian”. This he fulfilled by conducting the elections devoid of violence and bloodletting. His concession of defeat before the final result was announced was the magic wand he employed. This he did for his love and unity of the country. The concession of defeat by Jonathan was eulogised nationally and internationally. President Barracks Obama of America also led his voice to the praise of Jonathan for conceding defeat before the final result was announced.
Nevertheless, despite the honourable role played by Mr. Jonathan to ensure peace in the land, some diehard anti-Jonathan crusaders said he didn’t deserve commendations for conceding defeat to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. According to these disparaging Nigerians, Jonathan didn’t do anything spectacular that deserves commendation and that he had no option than to concede defeat. They said that since he had lost the presidential elections he had no option that to concede defeat. They further said that if Jonathan didn’t concede defeat and there was crisis for resisting defeat, he would have been taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for trial over crimes against humanity. They cited the example of ex-president of Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo who is on trial at the International Criminal Court for opposing defeat after losing the presidential election. Also mentioned is his wife, Simone who is serving a 20 year jail term for her role in the violence that followed the disputed elections. The violence that erupted following the disagreements over the elections in Cote d’Ivoire precipitated the untimely death of about 3,000 Ivoirians and properties worth hundreds of billions of dollars were also destroyed as long as the crisis prevailed.
I have some cogent questions for Nigerians who opposed the commendation of Mr. Jonathan for conceding defeat. If Jonathan didn’t concede defeat and there was political violence that led to the death of innocent Nigerians and destruction of properties, would his trial and imprisonment bring back to life those Nigerians who would have died in the crisis? Would his trial and imprisonment restore the properties that would have been destroyed in the crisis? Have the trial of Laurent Ggbagbo at the ICC and the imprisonment of his wife brought back to life the lives of 3,000 innocent Ivoirians that died during the crisis? Has the trial of Gbagbo restored the properties that were destroyed when the crisis broke out? Today, Gbagbo and his wife are still alive whereas innocent Ivoirians have died and gone forever; they will never come back to life again!
 In the scenario painted above, would Nigerians have preferred ex-president Jonathan to have treaded the part of Laurent Gbagbo and pushed the country into chaos? Was that what these misanthropists wanted ex-president Jonathan to have done? Who knows, some of these Nigerians condemning Jonathan today could have been victims of a possible violence if he didn’t concede defeat. Again, is it easy to concede defeat? If it is easy to concede defeat why didn’t Gen. Muhammadu Buhri (now President) concede defeat after the 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections?
It is good to commend those who have done deeds worthy of commendations. Former President Jonathan didn’t demand commendation from anybody but his deeds need commendations. If world leaders and international bodies could commend Jonathan for conceding defeat, there is no justifiable reason for any Nigerian not to do same. The world can’t be wrong for commending him.


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