Until this year, no sitting Nigerian president had ever lost an election. So when it looked like President Goodluck Jonathan was going to lose to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, there were fears Jonathan might try to hold onto power — until this phone call.
Here is what Jonathan said to Buhari when he conceded the election, in an early evening phone call on March 31.
The online news source Sahara Reporters transcribed the call, which begins with aides to each side connecting the men on the phone.
As the two men talk, Buhari can be heard offering congratulations to Jonathan, who interrupts with an invitation to meet and discuss setting up the transition of power:
Caller: Your excellency, sir. Hope I'm speaking with General Buhari, sir. President Goodluck Jonathan would like to speak with you, sir.
Receiver: Yes. Okay, hold on.
Jonathan: Your Excellency
Receiver: Hold on, sir.
Buhari: Your Excellency
Jonathan: Your Excellency, how are you?
Buhari: I'm all right.
Jonathan: (Laughter) Congratulations
Buhari: Thank you very much, your Excellency.
Jonathan: So, how are things?
Buhari: Well, I'd congratulate you more because you….
Jonathan: In a few days find time to come so that we can sort out how to plan the transitional period.
Buhari: Alright, Your Excellency. Thank you very much
Jonathan: Okay, congratulations
Buhari: My respects, Your Excellency. Thank you.
The recording of the call first appeared via Twitter, but an internal investigation by Jonathan's administration to find the source of the leak suggests the recording is authentic.
It was unclear whether sources inside Jonathan or Buhari's camp leaked the recording, according to local papers.
A security source inside the presidency told Punch newspaper that the leaked call was considered an embarrassment to the sitting president, even though he has been lauded worldwide for the call, roundly interpreted as a symbol of his democratic leadership. An internal investigation is underway to determine whether the leak came from Jonathan's side.
"Definitely, unauthorized release of a raw recording of the President's telephone conversation, if from our (Presidency's) end is a security breach that cannot go without being investigated," the security source told Punch.