November 26, 2022

Former President Goodluck Jonathan says his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari is “okay” despite suffering an electoral defeat in the 2015 presidential election to his successor.

Jonathan said this on Tuesday while fielding questions from State House reporters at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after briefing President Buhari on the crisis rocking the Republic of Mali as ECOWAS Special Envoy.

He was accompanied by President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.

The former president, who was asked about his relationship with President Buhari who defeated him in the 2015 presidential election, said: “You’ve been seeing me coming and you have been seeing us having friendly conversations. So, our relationship is ok.”

Jonathan, who hailed the President for continuing with the legacy projects of previous administrations, also said that he had written an appreciation letter to him (Buhari) for naming the Itakpe-Warri railway complex after him last weekend.

According to him, what Buhari has done is the proper thing to do.

The former president, while reacting to the question on the naming of projects after him, said: “Let me use this opportunity to commend Mr President publicly. I’ve already sent a letter to appreciate him. It’s a good gesture.

“And completing the railway programme is good. It shows that the President is doing, is going on with the legacy projects of the previous administrations. That is the way to go.

“I sent a letter to him. I commended him verbally too but you are asking me now. Let me also do it publicly. I appreciate it, I thank Mr President, the Minister of Transportation and others that made it possible.”

Meanwhile, President Buhari has promised to consult with key leaders of ECOWAS countries in order to find a solution to the crisis rocking Republic of Mali.

“We will ask the President of Niger, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS to brief us as a group, and we will then know the way forward,” President Buhari said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.

The President thanked Dr Jonathan for his comprehensive brief on the situation in Mali, “which you had been abreast with since when you were the sitting Nigerian President.”

The former President had briefed President Buhari on his activities as Special Envoy to restore amity to Mali, rocked by protests against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has spent two out of the five years second term in office.

A resistance group, M5, is insisting that the Constitutional Court must be dissolved, and the President resigns before peace can return to the country.

Crisis had erupted after the court nullified results of 31 parliamentary seats in the polls held recently, awarding victory to some other contenders, which the resistance group said was at the instigation of President Keita.

Riots on July 10 had led to the killing of some protesters by security agents, causing the crisis to spiral out of control, hence the intervention by ECOWAS.

“ECOWAS can’t preside over the removal of an elected President. Not even the African Union (AU), or the United Nations (UN) can do it. Leaders must be elected and leave under constitutional processes, otherwise, we would have Banana republics all over the place,” Dr Jonathan submitted.

The former President thanked President Buhari for providing a presidential jet for the mission, “thus making our trips convenient and comfortable.”

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