Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he handed over a Nigeria with the largest economy in Africa, though he met the nation the second when he ascended the office of the president following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Jonathan spoke in New Jersey, United States, on Saturday, April 23, 2016, to Friends of Africa Coalition at the Mayor’s Office on issues dwelling on strengthening democracy and elections in Africa.
According to the Nigerian Monitor, Jonathan said the richest man in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, was the 5th richest man in 2009 but he handed over a nation that produced the richest man in Africa by 2015.
Dr. Jonathan, who also spoke on issues bordering on the 2015 general elections in Nigeria and the economy of the country, said the outcome of the 2015 polls would have been ridden with crisis if he was not a president elected by the will of the people of Nigeria.
According to the former president, “the campaigns leading to the elections almost polarized the country into Christian versus Muslims and North versus South divide. Most world leaders were worried that our elections will result into major crisis. Some pundits even from here in the United States said that those elections would spell the end of Nigeria and that we would cease to exist as a nation because of the polls.
“That is where the leadership question comes into play. As a leader that was duly elected by the people, I considered the people’s interest first. How do I manage my people to avoid killings and destruction of properties? With the interest of the people propelling all the decisions I took, we were able to sail through.
“Indeed, we sail through because I refused to interfere with the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, having appointed a man I had never met in my life to run it. My philosophy was simple. For elections to be credible, I as a leader, must value the process more than the product of the process. And the citizens must have confidence in the electoral body.
“This rule of the law of process ensured that Nigeria’s peace, prosperity and progress was not derailed by the conduct and results of the 2015 elections and I am proud to say that while I took over a Nigeria that was the second largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $270.5 billion in 2009, I handed over a Nigeria that had grown to become the largest economy in Africa and the 24th largest economy in the world with a GDP of $574 billion.”
He said he inherited a Nigeria in which the trains were not working, and handed over a Nigeria in which citizens can safely travel by trains again, adding that “I inherited a Nigeria that was a net importer of cement, and handed over a Nigeria that is a net exporter of cement. In 2009 the richest Nigerian was the 5th richest man in Africa, but I handed over a Nigeria that produced the richest man in Africa.
“These are but a few of the parameters that illustrate some of the economic transformations we engineered during my term in office. This was made possible by the fact that there was a stable political leadership in Nigeria that did not have to pander to any other constituency except the electorate who brought me to power. And these actions have a contagious effect.”
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