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“My Transition Hours” a review of former President Jonathan’s new book

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2015 elections and more: Goodluck Jonathan reveals all in a thrilling odyssey

It is not often that a politician whose stature is that of a national (not to say international) institution chooses to unveil and memorialize an act that marked his removal from office. Yet that is exactly what this remarkable book set out to do. When Dr, Goodluck Jonathan called General Muhammadu Buhari on the evening of March 30th, 2015 to concede defeat in an election that INEC had yet to conclude the collation of there is no doubt that history was made. Jonathan accepted a questionable verdict rather than mount a challenge that might have provoked conflict.

In doing so he calmed volatile tempers and disarmed battle ready gladiators. In this carefully worded narrative about that decision and its consequences Jonathan reveals that the action was based on a deeply held conviction of his that his personal ambition should not be the cause for bloodshed.

He says categorically that events after the 2011 polls which left scores dead in the Northern states, especially in the light of threats that had been voiced by members of the opposition in the run-up to the 2015 elections made him apprehensive. The central factor in his decision was the welfare of the ordinary voter and the survival of the national patrimony. There are certainly those who might question this assumption but after a careful perusal of all fifteen chapters of this unique work, hardly anyone can remain unconvinced of the genuineness of the former President’s reality.

The revelations about the electoral concession apart, this book is a comprehensive exposition of the former President’s policy objectives during the years that he was at the helm of national affairs. Apart from giving a concise and convincing interpretation of the regional tensions that have bedeviled the nation’s historic efforts to install genuine democracy as the core principle guiding the political process of governance.

Dr. Jonathan is also very forthright in depicting the dramatic disintegration of political trust that overtook his party prior to the 2015 election. Precisely because he is outspoken and honest in his portrayal of these anomalous times the defense of some of his landmark decisions in officering true and give this work resonance as a document of corrective historical relevance. It is not unlikely that some of Dr. Jonathan’s adversaries, especially those who gained prestige and elevation from his decision to accept defeat without mounting what could have been a robust challenge to the 2015 verdict might seek to question some of his assertions in this work.

However, he has backed up most of his claims with well researched and documented empirical evidence which makes it a historically valuable document as well as distinctly unique defense of his Administrative priorities. Dr. Jonathan has not only produced a unique defense of his principles he has also rendered his vision when in office relevant even after his defeat.
Among the most important elements of the exposition of the Jonathan legacy contained in this volume, his revelatory narratives about critical events such as the Chibok girls abduction and the “spontaneous” fuel subsidy protests are worth special notice. Dr. Jonathan is also very convincing in his assertion of support for youth and the new economic parameters that guide modern development.

He suggests that continuity in government might be more viable as an objective in African democracies than drastic change and so continues to advocate that reform of the terms of governance should continue to be promoted. This attitude might serve to explain why he was able to broker the convening of the National Conference during his tenure in office but he reveals here as well how some of his well-meant attempts to promote continuity after he accepted defeat have been either rejected or simply ignored.

This work is not merely a treatise in defense of, or expressive of support for, Dr. Jonathan’s views although a substantial proportion of it is just that, but it is an extraordinarily honest and objective analysis of realities of governance in a complex multi-ethnic nation. This is a most important aspect of the work, which will make it imperative reading for all Nigerian patriots and a valuable sourcebook for all students of African history and politics.

A Review By Titus Agbo
Title: My Transition Hours
Author: Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
Publisher: Ezekiel Publishers

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