Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has downplayed the importance of his latest visit to President Muhammadu Buhari. Jonathan visited Buhari on Wednesday at the presidential villa, drawing the curiosity of journalists on the purpose of the meeting.
But speaking with state house correspondents before exiting the villa, Jonathan said he had met the president many times without the notice of journalists, because such meetings were in the night.
He added that as a former president, he had become a property of the state and visits to the president should be expected.
“You asked why I came to see the president today; one key thing is that having been a head of government, a former president, you become a state property,” he said.
“That’s the privilege you have but every privilege has its corresponding responsibility, and once you become a state property, most of your international engagements that have to do with public addresses and some international assignments, they become national assignments; you brief the President.
“Even when I was here, the former presidents used to do that and 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 leading the AU elections monitoring team to Zambia, I came to brief the president about some of these external engagements. It is the tradition.”
Jonathan also spoke on resolving renewed agitation in the Niger Delta, saying all the stakeholders must be involved in efforts to find solutions.
“It’s not just about me but about all the traditional rulers, elders and opinion leaders that are of the Ijaw ethnic nationality,” he said.
“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, my emphasis was always that we need a united Nigeria and I always emphasise that Nigeria is great not just about the oil. 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 has been my focal position and without peace there cannot be development anywhere in the world; we are all working collectively to see that issues are resolved.”
Asked for his comments about the fight against corruption, he said: “I don’t want to talk about that one because there are too many cases that are in court.
“It will not be fair to make comments; I will talk at the appropriate time when most of these things are resolved.”