Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been awarded the ‘Symbol of Peace’ among recipients of the maiden edition of the ‘100 Most Notable Peace Icons in Africa’ honour.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that he was presented the award by the ‘100 Most Notable Peace Icons in Africa’ project team at the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation on Thursday in Abuja.
Amb.Kingsley Amafibe, Project Director Africa, for the 100 Most Notable Peace Icons in Africa, said the award was in recognition of Jonathan’s commitment to protecting Nigeria’s peace and unity, despite predictions of disintegration.
He said although the 100 peace icons were people who have used their talents, positions and resources to build and promote peace across Africa, Jonathan stood out as the ‘Symbol of Peace’ for the continent.
According to him, the choice of Jonathan for the prestigious honour was made after painstaking consultations across the continent by the ‘100 Most Notable Peace Icons in Africa; team.
“Goodluck Jonathan is a symbol of peace, a symbol of sacrifice for fatherland and an example of true leadership who is a role model to young people, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.
“He made an unprecedented sacrifice by his decision to accept the result of the 2015 Presidential poll, true to his words that his political ambition does not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
“That act of patriotism, which guaranteed a peaceful civilian-to-civilian transition, saved our dear country and the continent from imminent chaos and predictions of Nigeria’s disintegration.
“He therefore stands tall today among the 100 most notable peace icons, earlier announced, who have dedicated their lives to promoting peace and justice in their communities, countries, and the world at large.
“As we honour these remarkable individuals, we are reminded of the importance of their work and the impact it has had on the world,”Amafibe said.
In his acceptance speech, Jonathan commended the organisers for the honour and reiterated his commitment to the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria.
He therefore urged leaders at all levels in Africa to embrace democratic principles towards building a better continent for all.
NAN reports that Jonathan made history when he conceded defeat in the March 29, 2015 presidential election by swiftly calling to congratulate his opponent,Muhammadu Buhari.
The step halted predictions of violent bloodshed in Nigeria, and keeping his word that he would not allow the blood of a Nigerian to be shed to further his political ambitions.
That display of selflessness has continue to resonate across the globe over the years, bringing both local and international awards to the former president, including, the African Sun Times’ International Person of the Year 2015.
Others include the Peace Loving Global Citizen, African Democracy and Peace Icon Award and the Martin Luther King Human Rights Award, making him the first African leader to win the award.(NAN)