PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has given an insight into the fate that awaits him and his ministers after May 29, saying he believes they will be persecuted.
He stated on Sunday during a thanksgiving and farewell service organised in his honour at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Gwarinpa, Abuja that the persecution would happen because of the “hard decisions” his administration took while in office.
Jonathan told the congregation that he understood clearly that “hard decisions” had their own cost and was therefore ready to pay any price for them
He said that experience had shown him that people would at a time desert anybody who took “hard decisions” like he did while in office.
Jonathan added that he had always believed that more of his friends would desert him after May 29.
The President recalled the story of the last ruler of apartheid South Africa, Frederik de Klerk, who was divorced by his wife for accepting to abolish minority rule in the country, and said jokingly that he hoped his wife, Patience, would not also divorce him after the end of his tenure on May 29.
Beaming with smiles, Patience Jonathan, who on March 16 declared that she was not ready to feed her husband in prison, replied with a shout of “Nooooo.”
Her response was greeted with a loud applause by congregation members.
The President said, “I believe there are reasons for everything. Some hard decisions have their own cost; and there is no doubt about that.
“That I have run the government this way that stabilised certain things, the electoral process and other things that brought stability to this country. They are very costly decisions which I must be ready to pay for.
“Some people come to me and say this or that person, is he not your friend that benefitted? Is it not your government that this person benefitted from? But this is what the person is saying.
“But I used to say that worse statements will come. If you take certain decisions, you should know that those close to you will even abandon you at some point.
“And I tell them that more of my so-called friends will disappear. When de Klerk took the decision to abolish minority rule in South Africa, even his wife divorced him. I hope my wife will not divorce me. But that is the only decision that has made South Africa to be a global player now. If they still have minority rule, by this time, nobody will be talking about them.
“If you take certain decisions, it might be good for many but it might affect others differently. So, for ministers and aides who served with me, I sympathise with them because they will be persecuted. They must be ready for persecution.
“Quoting Tai Solarin, may your ways be rough, I say 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.”
Jonathan however said he was happy that ordinary Nigerians appreciated what he did and that, according to him, is most important.
He said it was not what the elite talk about or say about his administration that mattered to him but what the majority of the Nigerians felt about his actions and inactions.
The President expressed delight that he came to Abuja with his family peacefully and was leaving peacefully.
Jonathan also looked back at all the benefits that had came his way as a Nigerian, saying he was ready to pay the supreme price for the nation.
He said considering what God had done in his life, he wished he could dance like the biblical King David.
Jonathan said, “I want to thank God for what he has done for me and my family. I wish to dance more than David, if I tried to dance, I missed my steps.
“I have all the reasons to thank God. Very few of those in my age bracket have been that lucky. All through my education, I was on government scholarship. I have not suffered lack not because I am hardworking, but it has been God’s grace.
“When I look at the whole picture of my life up to when I became the President of this country, I say that if soldiers and policemen that have not received 0.5 per cent of the benefits that I have had from the state can lay down 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 the state has helped me as a person.
“I have to thank Nigerians, especially the people of my state (Bayelsa) for giving me the opportunity to serve as deputy governor. I thank all Nigerians who gave me the opportunity to serve as Vice President and President. I had their support 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 also thanked the church for standing by him even at his most difficult times.
He said even on the March 28 presidential election which he lost to Buhari, there were many people who supported him nationwide.
Jonathan promised to continue to pray for the country and the incoming government of Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that Buhari won the March 28 election because God wanted it to be so.
The President added, “Even for the election, we had people who supported us all over the country but things went the way they did because God wanted them that way for a purpose.
“We will continue to pray for the peace of the country and for the success of the incoming administration.
“When the country is in good shape, people benefit. When things are going well, people are happy. You don’t need to know Mr. President or Mr. Governor.
“The issue is not about Jonathan or Buhari or any other person. The issue is how the government functions in terms of stability and a buoyant economy that will enable Nigerians to move forward and live happily. That is our interest; that is my prayer point.
“All religious groups should pray for the country.”
Jonathan thereafter requested that his favourite him, “Stand by me” be sang again.
He said apart from inspiring him, the hymn “makes him to be aware of the fact that whatever one does, there will always be storms.”
Earlier, a former Minister of Information, Jerry Gana, said Jonathan was favoured by God in many ways.
Gana thanked God for what Jonathan was able to achieve during his tenure.
The former minister, who headed the President’s fundraising committee during electioneering, said “Jonathan is a man of favour. He is highly favoured by God. We thank God for what He has done for Nigeria through him.
“Despite the big positions he occupied in the country, he has remained humble and he has succeeded in deepening democracy in the country.
“He revived the rail system; he brought back hope to Nigeria and to cap it all; he conceded defeat to his opponent in a heroic manner.”
The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, also praised the President while reeling out some of his unique qualities and achievements in office.
He said, “He (Jonathan) is humane, gentle and unassuming. He has transformed Nigeria. He is not vindictive. He loves the youth. He empowered, mentored and motivated youths and women.
“He is a listening leader. He listens to everyone in the Federal Executive Council before passing judgment. He fixed the electoral process and brought credibility to it. He is Nigeria’s greatest leader.”
In his sermon entitled, “Thanksgiving,” the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, said although Jonathan was leaving office as President, the world would still need his services in different capacities.
Okoh said leaving office at this time did not translate to the fact that Jonathan had expired.
He explained that what happened to the President was that he had graduated into a class of statesmen and women.
Turning to the President, the clergyman said, “You have graduated and entered the distinguished class of statesmen and women.“In your new office, you are a peacemaker. Nigeria, Africa, the black world and the world will need you. You are relevant; you have just started; you have not expired.”
He recalled that at the inception of his administration, Jonathan did a similar thing by giving thanks to God.
Okoh thanked God for the President’s contributions to the growth of the country, adding that some of the projects he initiated had been completed while others are at advanced stages.
He said, “Whatever stage the projects may be, generations yet unborn will read about Jonathan that he governed from so so time to so so time.
“It will be studied by our children in history books. So, we should thank God.
“Again, you are leaving the (Presidential) Villa alive. Only God knows what would have happened. There is nothing greater than life.
“We give thanks for what God did through you in your distressed situation. Your humility saved lives and our enemies were disappointed. There were many people who came and pretended to be your friends, but were sadists. They came with cameras recording, but were disappointed.
“What God is doing in your life you may not understand, it might take years, but you need to be patient to understand because deeper meaning of the event will unfold later.”
Nigerians misunderstood Jonathan’s calmness –Okupe
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, has said Nigerians misunderstood the President’s calmness for indecisiveness.
Okupe, on his facebook page on Sunday, said “In a few days, President Jonathan will bow out of office gracefully and graciously.
“President Jonathan has done well and served his country well. He exits office as a great President; perhaps Nigeria’s greatest President for all times. Greater than the best before him. He excelled in achievements, in humility, tranquility and simplicity.
“Nigerians misunderstood meekness for weakness, Restraint for lack of strength, reticence for inaction and calmness for indecisiveness.”
Okupe said that history would judge Jonathan differently, adding that he(Jonathan) would “be remembered as a great man, a good man, humble and humane, purposeful and focused. A great African hero who fought against all manners of evil and conspiracies: Religious, ethnic, national and international, and lost the war.
“But ultimately, he triumphed because of the inherent goodness that God Almighty deposited in Him.”
The presidential aide urged Nigerians not to weep for Jonathan but “rather pray that our nation will remain, united and stable; that its people will prosper and that God will guide our incoming leaders.”
Culled from Punch
— May 11, 2015 @ 14:40 GMT