Against the background of the mayhem caused by supporters of President Donald Trump in Washington on Wednesday, former President Goodluck Jonathan has issued a press statement addressed to American leaders.
The US capital was engulfed in chaos as Trump supporters breached the hallowed chambers of Congress to stop the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that will confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Four people died in the ensuing mayhem – A woman was shot in the chest while three other people died from medical emergencies during the riot.
“I have repeatedly said nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any citizen, in any part of the world. Absolutely nobody,” Jonathan, who conceded to President Muhammadu Buhari even before the results had been fully collated in 2015, said.
“Again, I reiterate that it is better to lose power at the cost of gaining peace, than to gain power at the price of losing the peace,” he added, in a veiled advice to President Donald Trump.
“As a leader, one must not just look unto one’s own interest, but the interest and the good of society,” the statement further said.
“It is never too late to reject the venom and inject the serum of peace. It is necessary to state that the highest purpose of leadership is to bring people together, even those that do not share in your philosophy.
“And you do not need an office to do that. All you need to achieve that height of leadership is conscience. Let us be men of conscience at this hour,” it concluded.
Jonathan has gone down in history as the first Nigerian leader to concede an election loss and carried out a peaceful transfer of power to his successor.
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Reno Omokri, an aide to Jonathan during his presidency wrote: “And I hope those who vilified former President Jonathan for conceding in 2015 can now see that it was neither easy, nor an act of cowardice. It took more strength to concede than it does to conflict. Jonathan is now a pride to the Black race, because we can now ask the US to learn from him!”
The disrupted joint session of the US Congress was to ratify the 2020 election results won by former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democrat Party.
Biden won the election by 306 to 232 in the state-by-state Electoral College and by more than seven million ballots in the national popular vote, but Trump falsely claims there was widespread fraud and that he was the victor.
The riot brought to the session to a standstill and had to be abandoned as the protesters forced their way inside the chambers of the Senate.
Proceedings the joint session of Congress resumed at about 8 p.m. ET and affirmed the victory of Biden, paying way for his inauguration on 20 January.
World leaders have issued strong condemnations of the rioters who stormed the US Capitol building, some pressing President Donald Trump to call off the violence.
The incident is currently the topic of discussion around the world, including among African politicians and scholars.
“The invasion of the Capitol Hill is not an exercise in democratic right but an open, undisguised and dastardly attempt to shred the will of the people, to incinerate democracy in order to retain power by cruel force and at all cost,” Nigerian politician and rights activist Shehu Sanni said in a tweet.
“What is happening in America is despicable, disgraceful and condemnable. The nation must not bow or surrender to this organized thuggery and the anti-democratic antics of Trump and his dishonourable crowd. A threat to freedom anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere,” he added.
Sanni, a former senator, added that the events in Washington does not bode well for democracy in Africa as sit-tight rulers would be emboldened by the action of President Trump.
Many have also been criticising international organisations such as the UN for not unequivocally condemning Trump the way they would have done if the incident of Wednesday had happened in an African country.
“The hypocrisy of the West is at the fore. If this occurred in some other country, let alone some African nation, the West, with the United States at the forefront, would have been at the vanguard calling for rule of law and respect for the constitution. Even imposing sanctions and other economic and political restrictions,” Donald Duke, a Nigerian politician said.
“What are the lessons for us? It is time we grow up and assume responsibility of our fate, those we look up to are no better than us. The best politics is and will always be to, “DO THE RIGHT THING”,” he added.