The National Peace Committee has disclosed that but for his consideration of national interest, then President Goodluck Jonathan, would have before the 2015 election, arrested, prosecuted and possibly jailed key members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, including Muhammadu Buhari, ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar, for allegedly committing treason against the Nigerian state.
The committee led by former head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar also said Jonathan conceded defeat in the 2015 presidential election and subsequently congratulated the winner and candidate of the APC, Buhari, without its knowledge.
These revelations which is coming over three years after the 2015 election that saw Buhari defeating an incumbent president, was contained in the report the committee unveiled Tuesday, in Abuja, after a peace meeting it held with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, heads of security agencies, and representatives of the country’s 91 political parties.
According to the report tagged: “2015 General Elections: The Untold Story”, published by The Kukah Centre, the National Peace Committee said it didn’t convince Jonathan to concede defeat to Buhari contrary to popular media reports.
The committee, which said its primary concern “has always been how to get the defeated candidates to accept the outcome of the election by conceding promptly and unequivocally” so that the winner would naturally have a much easier task to be magnanimous in victory, disclosed that “the committee in the evening of March 31 requested audience with President Jonathan at the Villa.”
The committee’s report further stated that, “As it awaited confirmation for the meeting with the president, the Committee Chairman, former head of state, General Abdulsalam Abubakar also put a call through to General Buhari who informed him that President Jonathan had only minutes earlier called to concede the elections.”
It added: “He particularly asked the Committee to please convey his good wishes to President Jonathan for his great act of statesmanship.
“Shortly after that, members of the committee who were greatly relieved, headed to the Villa where they met privately with President Jonathan and thanked him for his great courage.
“At this point, the Buhari Campaign team were yet to address the press on the historic development and as such, many Nigerians got the news of the concession from General Abubakar’s brief media scrum with State House Correspondents which perhaps helped create the wrong, but widespread impression that the committee sat with President Jonathan at the Villa as the results came in and had directly prevailed on him to concede.”
The report also disclosed how Jonathan, in a meeting with the committee which has religious leaders and publisher, Sam Amuka, as members, cited “national interest” as reason he stopped his earlier decision to press home with treasonable charges against the then APC presidential candidate, Buhari and other leaders of the party, over threats to form a parallel government if they didn’t win the election.
According to the 51-page document, Jonathan jettisoned the plan “in the interest of peace and national stability.”
Part of page 13 of the report reads: “A meeting with Jonathan was held at the Aso Rock Villa in the afternoon of Wednesday, March 25, 2015. At the meeting, he (Jonathan) raised some issues concerning the state of the nation, the threat of violence by the opposition (APC then) based on allegations that he (Jonathan) and his party were planning to rig the elections.
“He (Jonathan) noted that he took very seriously the threat by leading members of the opposition to form a parallel government in the event that they didn’t win the elections, but that he chose not to react to such apparent treasonable acts in the interest of peace.”