The Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee has narrated how it stopped the former President Goodluck Jonathan from arresting and prosecuting Muhammadu Buhari and other All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders before the 2015 general elections.
It said it did not influence the former President Goodluck Jonathan to concede defeat to the APC candidate.
The committee claimed that the former president acted without its knowledge.
The revelation was contained in the report the committee unveiled in Abuja yesterday – three years after the 2015 general election.
The committee reactivated its work yesterday, meeting with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, heads of security agencies and representatives of the registered political parties.
The 2015 report said the former president cited national interest for not going further with the plan to arrest and prosecute key members of the then opposition APC, including Buhari and ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, for allegedly committing treason against the Nigerian state.
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 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.
It added that its members in the evening of March 31 requested an audience with Jonathan at the Villa.
The report said: “As it awaited confirmation for the meeting with the president, the committee chairman, General Abubakar, also put a call through to General Buhari, who informed him that President Jonathan had only minutes earlier called to concede the elections.
“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 helps 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 stated that Jonathan, in a meeting with the committee cited “national interest” as reason he stopped his earlier decision to press home with treasonable charges against the then APC presidential candidate and other leaders, 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 ) 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.”
The report also detailed series of meetings held with leaders of the two major political parties in 2015, especially with APC and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The committee, which came into existence before the 2015 general elections, was resuscitated as a result of heated political environment.
Speaking after its meeting yesterday, Abubakar said politics must be played without bitterness.
The former head of state, who briefed reporters in the company of Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd), Father Mathew Kukah and other members of the committee, stressed the importance of peace in the nation’s economic growth.
He appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies involved in the electoral process to play their roles accordingly.
Abubakar also urged politicians to play the game according to the rules.