•Says relationship with president cordial, briefs on Malian Crisis
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for making the completion of projects initiated by the previous administrations a policy, saying it is the way to go.
The former president, who gave the commendation after meeting with the president in the State House in Abuja yesterday, also said his relationship with his successor had been cordial.
Buhari yesterday met with Jonathan to chart a course on possible ways of resolving the crisis rocking the Republic of Mali.
The president had named the largest station along the Warri-Itakpe railway route – the Agbor railway facility and station – after his predecessor.
According to him, what Buhari has done is the proper thing to do.
When asked about the naming of projects after him, he said: “Let me use this opportunity to commend Mr. President publicly. I’ve already sent a letter to appreciate it. 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,” he said.
Asked about his relationship with Buhari, who defeated him in the 2015 presidential election, the former president stated “you’ve been seeing me coming and I have been having friendly conversations. So, our relationship is ok.”
Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday met with Jonathan in the State House to chart a course on possible ways of resolving the crisis rocking the Republic of Mali.
At the meeting where Jonathan, who is the ECOWAS’ Special Envoy to Mali, briefed Buhari on the crisis, and the president promised to consult with key leaders of ECOWAS countries with a view to finding a solution to the problem.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the former president was accompanied to the State House by the President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.
Adesina said Buhari suggested the need to call for a briefing from the President of Niger Republic and Chairman of ECOWAS, Mahamadou Issoufor, on the way forward.
“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,” Buhari said.
The statement said Buhari thanked Jonathan for his comprehensive briefing on the situation in Mali, “which you had been abreast with since when you were the sitting Nigerian President.”
It also said the former president informed Buhari on his efforts, as the region’s special envoy, to restore amity to Mali that is currently rocked by protests over President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has only spent two out of the five years of his second term in office.
The statement explained that a resistance group in Mali, M5, had called for the dissolution of the country’s Constitutional Court as well as the president’s resignation, before peace can return to the country.
The statement further explained that crisis broke out in the country after the court nullified results of 31 parliamentary seats in the recently held polls and gave victory to some other contenders, resulting in the allegation by the resistance group that the judgment was influenced by the president.
It added that during the riots of July 10 on the matter, some protesters were killed by security agents, resulting in escalation of the crisis, a situation it said now required ECOWAS’ intervention.
“The statement quoted Jonathan as saying, “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.”
According to Adesina, Jonathan thanked Buhari for providing a presidential jet for the mission, a gesture he said made “our trips convenient and comfortable.”
Adesina also said Jonathan expressed his appreciation to his successor for naming the Itakpe-Warri railway complex in Agbor, Delta State after him last weekend.
“It was a big present for me. Thank you very much,” Jonathan was quoted as saying.