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 abiding 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 will not want Nigeria to experience what such countries passed through.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, quoted the President as speaking at separate audiences 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 to help the incoming President succeed in leading the country to greater heights of accomplishment.
He also appealed for patience, understanding and cooperation from all stakeholders in Nigeria, saying Buhari would need those attributes to move the country forward.
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 abiding conviction that the unity, well-being and progress of Nigeria must supersede all personal ambitions.
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.
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.
“Nigeria is not only an economic power in the world today, but also a great democratic example. And it is all by your effort, Mr. President. The last elections and your response was truly a great achievement and you will always be remembered for it,” the French ambassador reportedly told the President.
The new envoys assured him that they will do their best to strengthen relations between Nigeria and their countries during their tenure.