President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday he was willing to pay the supreme price if need be to keep Nigeria’s unity. He said for losing the election, his friends and associates have abandoned him.
He also assured that in or out of government, he will continue to give his best to the country that has given him so much from enjoying scholarship throughout his education to being taken care of by the state for 16 years, saying he is “a very happy and fulfilled man”.
He said this at the Thanksgiving and Farewell Service in his honour and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan at the Cathedral Church of the Advent Life-Camp, Gwarinpan, Abuja
Jonathan regretted he was not, a good dancer if not, he would have out-danced the biblical David even at the risk of annoying his wife. He said not many Nigerians in his age bracket have been as privileged as he is to have enjoyed government scholarship in school up to master’s degree as well as fortunate in his political career.
He noted that his good fortunes continued even when he did his Ph.D as his then employers also paid for his scholarship.
Speaking more on paying the supreme price, Jonathan said if soldiers and police officers who do not earn anything close to what he is being paid by the state could die while serving the country and maintaining territorial, integrity, he sees no reason why he too cannot pay the supreme price for Nigeria’s unity.
President Jonathan who noted that he has not suffered lack not because he is hardworking, but simply by God’s grace said, “when I look at the whole picture of my life up to when I became the President of this country, and I say that if soldiers and police officers that have not received 0. 5 per cent of the benefits that I have received from the state can lay their lives for this country, I should do anything in the interest of Nigeria including paying the supreme price.
“As long as live, I will continue to do my best for the state because it has helped me as a person.
“I have to thank Nigerians especially my state for giving me the opportunity to serve as deputy governor, governor and the whole country gave me the opportunity to serve as Vice President and then President , first was to complete the tenure of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and later serve as President from which I am exiting now as a very happy and fulfilled man”.
The President, amid applause and shouts in the emotionally-charged service, said he had taken hard decisions including cleaning up the electoral process for which he has to pay a high price (losing his re-election bid), concluding that it was God’s will that the result turns out the way it did.
Jonathan, while saying he was not surprised that friends and associates have abandoned him, said he expects worst things to happen in future , revealing that those that benefited most from his government’s policies and programmes were those crucifying him today even before he left office.
The President who said he was not bothered by such actions, recalled the story of the last ruler of apartheid South Africa, Frederik Willem de Klerk, who was divorced by his wife for accepting to abolish minority rule, noting it was that a hard choice that is still keeping South Africa a force to reckon with today. He added jokingly that he hope the same fate will not befall him and his wife divorce him for accepting defeat in the last presidential election. To which the wife quickly, replied with a resounding “Nooooo” which drew another round of applause and shouts,” he said.
Quoting Tai Solarin’s, popular quote, Jonathan said, “To my ministers, I wish you what I wish myself. They will have hard times, we will all have hard times. Our ways will be rough.”
The President thanked Nigerians for their support and urged the church and other religious groups to pray for the success of the incoming administration, saying what matters is not the person in charge of government but how government’s actions impact on the people.
Jonathan said: “ But we are happy the ordinary people appreciate what we did and that is the most important. It’s not what the elite or the privileged few talk or say about you but what the majority of the Nigerian public think about your actions and inactions that matter.
“Like the Primate said, we came to Abuja peacefully and we are returning peacefully. “I thank the church and Nigerians because they stood by us at our most difficult times.
Earlier, former Minister of Information and one of the directors of Jonathan campaigns organization, Prof Jerry Gana, described the President as man who was favoured by God in many ways, thanking God for what He used Jonathan to achieve for the country.
Earlier in his sermon titled: “Thanks,”giving with the main text taken from 1 Thessalonian 5:18, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, said the will of God can mean some uncomfortable situation sometimes. He said when Jesus was goiing to the cross it was not a pleasant experience but today we have good friday.
“We are here to join the President to give thanks to God as he rounds off his tenure. When he started he gave thanks to God.The first thing he has to thank God for is the privilege to be president of Nigeria,” he said.