Awards presentation holds tomorrow
Tomorrow at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, history will be made. Three eminent Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari, former president, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and former chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Muhammadu Attahiru Jega, will be honoured as “LEADERSHIP Persons of the Year 2015.”
The occasion will be the LEADERSHIP Annual Awards made. Three eminent Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari, former president, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and former chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Muhammadu Attahiru Jega, will be honoured as “LEADERSHIP Persons of the Year 2015.”
The occasion will be the LEADERSHIP Annual Awards and Conference, an annual event where the LEADERSHIP Group celebrates those who have distinguished themselves in the public and private sectors in the preceding year.
This year’s event is significant as it will bring together the major actors in the 2015 general elections; President Buhari, his predecessor Jonathan and Jega, former head of the electoral umpire who conducted the 2015 elections.
It was not an easy decision for the Board of Editors of LEADERSHIP who voted for the trio. The choice of President Buhari was made to honour him for making history by being the first opposition candidate to defeat a sitting president after three attempts. In the case of former President Jonathan, he would be recognised for achieving the improbable and for conceding defeat in an election in which he was a contestant – a first for Nigeria.
The former INEC boss is to be honoured for his courage, doggedness and fairness even in the face of threats to his life in the conduct of the 2015 elections, a feat he achieved to global acclaim.
It always seems improbable until it is done. We may now take for granted the watershed of the 2015 presidential election but who could have thought it would come to pass? It was far from being so before it was done. When Nigeria held her presidential poll on March 28, 2015 – the fifth since civilian rule was restored in 1999 – it had all the elements of a do-or-die affair.
Providence and three key personalities – Jonathan, Jega and Buhari, turned the tide. They jointly midwifed and protected the people’s mandate and the nation’s democracy from the pernicious machinations of contending interests. In choosing the LEADERSHIP Person of the Year therefore, the Board of Editors could not separate the three central characters who defined the political character of 2015.
Their selection followed a critical review of their various contributions to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria and the peaceful and seamless manner in which the three eminent Nigerians handled the 2015 democratic transition without derailing the country’s democracy to the admiration and commendation of the global democratic community.
It is therefore appropriate to celebrate these icons of democracy for their respective roles in deepening the nation’s democracy through a transparent electoral process.
It is equally significant that former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar was chosen to chair the occasion and present the Persons of the Year awards because of his role before, during and after the 2015 general elections, particularly in the National Peace Committee, where he, together with other statesmen, got the presidential candidates of the major political parties in the election to sign peace accords.