No alternative to a united Nigeria —Jonathan •Visits Aso Rock, mums on anti-graft war

President Muhammadu Buhari (right) welcoming former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday. PHOTO: NAN

FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, saying there is no alternative to a united Nigeria.

Fielding questions as he emerged from the closed door meeting, he said he was there to brief the president on his  international engagements as a former Nigerian leader, adding that he had often visited at night.

On his role in resolving the current Niger Delta crisis, Jonathan said effort towards resolving it should be all encompassing, involving all stakeholders.

The former president stated: “It’s not just about me, but about all the traditional rulers, elders and opinion leaders who are of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.

“We have been in touch to see that peace reigns in the country. Those of you that have followed my talks when I was here will remember that my emphasis was that we need a united Nigeria and I always emphasise that Nigeria is great, not just about the oil, as so many countries produce more oil than Nigeria, but nobody notices them.

“We are great because of our size, the human resources we have, the diversity we have. If we fragmentise the country into small components, we will be forgotten by the world.

“That had been my focal position and without peace, there cannot be development anywhere in the world. We are working collectively to see these issues are resolved.”

He added: “You asked why I came to see the president today. One key thing is that having being a head of a government, a former president, you become a state property.

“That’s the privilege you have, but every privilege has its corresponding responsibility and once you become a state property, most of your international engagement that has to do with public addresses and some international assignments become a national assignment. You brief the president.

“Even when I was here, former presidents used to do same; they see me. I have been coming. Most times, I come in the night. That’s why you don’t see me.

“I came to brief the president about some of my engagements. As you are aware, I will be leading the African Union (AU) elections monitoring team to Zambia. I came to brief the president about some of these external engagements. It is the tradition.”

The former president declined to comment on the ongoing anti-corruption war by the present administration, saying there were too many cases in court on the matter.

“I don’t want to talk about that one, because there are too many cases in court. It will not be fair to make comments. I will talk at the appropriate time, when most of these things are resolved.”