ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – President of Cote d’ Ivoire, Allassan Qouttara, has said Nigeria’s elections which saw President Goodluck Jonathan, an incumbent conceding defeat to an opposition was a great legacy for the continent.
Qouttara, who was on a private visit, in an emotional laden voice, recalled the refusal of an incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo in relinquishing power five years ago led to 3,000 lives being lost to a needless civil war and he and his team being locked up in a hotel for four and half months a times going without food and water for days.
The Cote D’Ivoire President, who said President Jonathan had won his admiration for that singular action, said his action was not a surprise as he has always demonstrated he was more West African than Nigerian by his contributions in quelling the crisis in Mali, Guinea Bissau, and Togo.
Qouttara noted that avoiding violence and civil war when elections hold in Africa should be the ought most objective of leaders on the continent bearng in mind that the people are more important than power.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of his meeting with Jonathan, said, “I came on a private visit to see my friend and brother and to congratulate the Nigerian people for the conduct of the presidential election. On May 29th there will be inauguration and swearing in of the President-elect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. So I wanted to tell you (Jonathan) our appreciation for the leadership we have received from you during all these years.
“Mr. President, you know about five years ago Cote D’ Ivoire had presidential elections and I won the election and the incumbent president decided not to leave office. This brought a civil war and 3,000 people were killed and we were put at hotel and under the protection of the United Nations for about four and half months. There were days we could not even have food or water because the hotel had been barricaded and encircled by the former president and it was only after four and half months of imprisonment that we were able to leave the hotel after the former president was caught and finally left office for me to take over.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10”]
“I’m saying this to say that what happened in Nigeria is a lesson to all of us, please accept my admiration. I think avoiding violence, avoiding civil war when we have elections in Africa should be our ought most objective. People are more important than power. And Mr. President my good friend I’m not surprised by what you did and I wanted to congratulate you, to congratulate the Nigerian people, to congratulate the President-elect, this election in Nigeria is a legacy for the African countries and I think we owe you a lot in ECOWAS. I will like to also say that for two years I was chairman of ECOWAS after yourself and we had to deal with very difficult issues like the wars in Mali, the terrorist implementation in Northern Nigeria, the problem in Guinea Bissau, the 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.
“And we also were together to set up the partnership ageement 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’ve shown friendship to me all these years and so I wanted to tell you thank you”.