ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – President Goodluck Jonathan has said even though he and his family are in need of prayers as he bows out of office on May 29th, the incoming government of President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari needs more prayer to succeed.
He said this at the 2015 Presidential Thanksgiving and Inauguration Inter-denominational Church Service with the theme: “Give Thanks in all Circumstances”.
He expressed delight that the Sunday service gathering was to celebrate Nigeria’s peace and unity and not disintegration, an inaugural service for the incoming government and not for mass burial of Nigerians, attributing all to the prayers of Nigerians.
Jonathan, who was joined in the service by his wife, Patience Jonathan, ministers, presidential aides and top government functionaries, said while they were bowing out of office into private life, Buhari’s government was coming to take over the mantle of leadership with all its challenges, urging Nigerians to never cease to pray, saying a successful country can never be achieved without God’s help.
He said, “As a nation, we have all the reasons to be grateful to God. Nigeria can be said to be young, since the amalgamation and independence, compared to other nations..
“Within this period, definitely there have been challenges. We are not doing too badly.
“I called on Christians to pray for me in 2007 for God to guide me. As a mere mortal, I can’t claim to be perfect. I must have done some things wrongly in one way or the other. We must have sinned. I called on Christians to pray that any decision that I will take that will affect the nation, God should guide me.
“I am quite pleased that we are here today not to celebrate the nation’s disintegration but we are celebrating unity of this country. We are here not for mass burial, but we are here for the inauguration of the incoming government.
“This is possible because of men and women like you who, over the years, have been praying for the country. God has been faithful and He has heard us.
“Once again, I thank you for your support. I call on you to pray for us who are leaving, because today is the last day I will speak with you in this place as the President of Nigeria. If I have the opportunity of standing here again, I will be speaking as a former President.
“Pray for me, my wife and family, members of my government, ministers and others as we leave.
“But you should even pray more for the incoming government because we are leaving, probably to go and manage our private businesses. They are coming in to manage the whole country, so they require more prayer.
“I am leaving and will be taking decisions that will be affecting me. If they do any mistake, it will affect the whole nation. So I call on you to pray for this incoming government for them to succeed. All we want for this nation is good governance, unity and peace.
“We can’t achieve these without the help of God.
“Once again, I thank you for being with me for these past eight years, for your prayers and your support. On behalf of my family, my wife, mother, children and all the people around me, I thank you and I say goodbye”.
The Vice President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who started by singing songs of praise and thanksgiving in various Nigerian languages, prayed for Jonathan that he will live long to see the greater glory of Nigeria.
He prayed that God would cause the nation to grow day by day and that thanksgiving would not cease from our homes and we will have cause to glorify God.
In his homily, Primate of Anglican Church of Nigeria Archbishop Nicolas Okoh, reading from Psalm 103: 1-2, called for forgiveness of whatever hurt that might have been inflicted on us even as God forgives us.
He urged Nigerians to forget the offensive campaigns and forgive, thanking God specifically that the prophets of doom who predicted that Nigeria would disintegrate were disappointed.
He said, “Mr President, On the eve of leaving office, it is appropriate to think of what you have done wrong and right. God has forgiven us. We should forgive those who have disappointed us. When we forgive ourselves and others, we set ourselves free. Without forgiveness, there is no access to God.
“During the campaign, there were many offences, but we must forgive one another. The last campaigns could be proved to be the bitterest in our national history but we must forgive.
“Mr. President and family God healed you many times. When it appeared that the grace was no longer there God healed you. To God alone be the glory.
“God saved us and from the prophesy of doom that we would disintegrate. The prophets of doom have been disappointed and thrown out from the public scene.
“Mr. President you have a crown of love and compassion and not of shame. God has been gracious to you and family and Nigerians.
”How many times have we come to a dangerous end but we come around again and we can greet one another.
“Mr. President God has satisfied you with good things from deputy governor, governor, Vice President, Acting President and President, you lack no good thing so you have to thank God.
”You are going home in good health, God has been gracious and we give Him thanks.
“You are living behind a new political attitude that the political ambition of any man is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. With this attitude you engender peace in our country and we are grateful.
“This peace will leave a foundation for strong Nigeria.
“It is not only an idea but political attitude but a political principle if you like call is Jonathanism
“Nigerians, rejoice that we are not running helter skelter. Mr. President, you’re leaving behind for Nigeria and Africa a new political attitude that the political ambition of anybody is not worth the blood of anybody. The peace we have will create enabling environment for the nation’s progress. The ability to accept defeat shows that there is life after State House. This peace is the capital we have for investment at the moment and we need to manage it carefully.
“We should pray for a united Nigeria, a country where every citizen will feel at home. At the moment, Nigerians are grossly divided along many lines. Unity is the twin brother of peace in future. Nigerians, we are all travelling to the future in a large ship, soon enough, the pilot will be Buhari with the support of Osinbajo. Our duty is to pray for the incoming government so that it shall be well with our country and all of us.
“To those who have held political appointments you will agree it takes time to build especially if you want to build what will endure. So we appeal to Nigerians not to shout hossana today and crucify him tomorrow.
“I appeal to the incoming government to complete projects because it is Nigerians who are leaving office and it is Nigerians who are coming in.
“In your new role Mr. President, trust God, honour him with your life, He will not forsake you. Rely on God He will not allow you to stumble.
“You have been a peace promoter, continue in that direction and the Lord will bless you.
“It is significant that this service is being held on pentecost Sunday. The Holy Spirit in us is the power of change to do what is right and not leave in shame”.
President Jonathan and wife were later presented with award by the Christian Association of Nigeria.
The award is for outstanding Christian humility in public service and commitment to peace, unity and stability of Nigeria which Jonathan displayed during the elections.
“Nigeria came close to disintegration in 2015, but fortunately God gave Nigeria a person who displayed the character of the Prince of Peace by that singular call to the president-elect saved Nigeria from destruction. The end of your presidency is greater than the beginning.
“There is peace in Nigeria because a man said no human being’s blood is worth my ambition”, the President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor said.
Some of the dignitaries present include Vice-President-elect Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and wife Dolapo Osinbajo; Senate President, David Mark, Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihadioha; former head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; senators, members of House of Representatives; Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, secretary to Federal Government; ministers, Head of Service, service chiefs, former governors, members of diplomatic corps; Chief John Oyegun, chairman of APC, PDP chieftains and the clerics, among others.