The president of Cote d’ivoire Alhassan Quattara was at the presidential villa, Abuja to thank President Jonathan for saving Nigeria from the experience the Ivorians went through before he became president. He said he came to thank Jonathan for his commitment to peace in West Africa. According to him, ‘ I was chairman of ECOWAS after you and we had to deal with very difficult issues like the wars in Mali, terrorists activities in northern Nigeria, problem in Guinea Bissau, problems in Togo. You were always present for us; you are a West African before being a Nigerian and we thank you for what you did for West Africa. We also were together to set up the partnership agreement with the European Union and only West Africa has been able to do this. My brother you have shown support to me during the difficult years I went through, you have shown friendship to me all these years a d so I wanted to tell you thank you.
President Quattara also said that President Jonathan displayed a mark of statesmanship in conceding defeat through his phone call to the president elect Buhari was exceptional. He said Cote d’ivoire could have been saved of two and half years of civil war and over three thousand deaths had his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo followed the example of Jonathan in conceding defeat. He said he was locked up in a hotel for over four months before he finally became president.
According to Quattara ‘I wanted to tell you our appreciation over the leadership we have received from you these years. You know that about five years ago, Cote d’ivoire had elections, I won the elections and the former president decided not to leave office. This brought the civil war. Three thousand people were killed and we were put at the hotel for protection by the United Nations for four and half months.
We were there without food because the hotel was guarded by the president. It was only after four and half months of imprisonment in that hotel that finally we were able to leave the hotel after the former president quit and finally left office for me. I’m saying this to say that what happened in Nigeria is a lesson to all of us and please accept my admiration.
I think avoiding violence and civil war when we have elections in Africa should be out utmost objective. People are more important than power and Mr President my good friend, I’m not surprised about what you did and I want to congratulate you, congratulate Nigerians, congratulate the president elect for the election in Nigeria. It is a legacy for African countries and I think we owe you a lot in Ecowas.
President Quattara also met president elect Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport to also congratulate him on his electoral victory. Buhari also commended him on his commitment to Ecowas and said that President Jonathan should be congratulated for his statesmanship in conceding defeat and avoiding the Cote d’ivoire experience.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
-Ex VP Atiku Abubakar on Restructuring.
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