Former President Goodluck Jonathan has received the “Symbol of Peace” award as part of the inaugural “100 Most Notable Peace Icons in Africa” recognition.
The award was presented to him by the team behind the “100 Most Notable Peace Icons in Africa” project at the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation in Abuja on Thursday. Ambassador Kingsley Amafibe, the Project Director for Africa, explained that Jonathan was chosen for his unwavering commitment to preserving peace and unity in Nigeria, even in the face of predictions of the country’s dissolution.
Amafibe emphasized that while the 100 peace icons recognized by the project had contributed to peace-building across Africa through their talents, positions, and resources, Jonathan stood out as the “Symbol of Peace” for the entire continent. The selection was the result of thorough consultations conducted across Africa by the project team.
Jonathan’s decision to accept the outcome of the 2015 Presidential election, despite his political ambitions, was highlighted as a remarkable act of patriotism that prevented potential chaos and the predicted disintegration of Nigeria. This action led to a peaceful civilian-to-civilian transition in the country.
In his acceptance speech, Jonathan expressed his gratitude for the honor and reaffirmed his dedication to Nigeria’s peace, unity, and progress. He also urged leaders across Africa to embrace democratic principles in their efforts to build a better continent.
Jonathan’s historic concession of defeat in the 2015 presidential election, demonstrated by his prompt congratulatory call to his opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, effectively halted predictions of violent conflict in Nigeria. He upheld his commitment to avoiding the loss of Nigerian lives for the sake of his political ambitions.
Jonathan’s selflessness and commitment to peace have earned him both local and international awards over the years, including the African Sun Times’ International Person of the Year 2015, the Peace Loving Global Citizen award, the African Democracy and Peace Icon Award, and the Martin Luther King Human Rights Award. He is the first African leader to receive the latter accolade.