President Goodluck Jonathan continued to seize every opportunity he gets to aim shots at “some Nigerians’ who behave as if the country is their property.
Without mentioning names, Jonathan used the Christmas to remind them that the country belongs to all Nigerians, not to any politician or group of politicians.
But his subsequent statement betrayed the object of his criticism, Olusegun Obasanjo, his mentor and predecessor, who wrote him a scathing open letter recently.
Jonathan said despite the challenges facing the country, “some senior Nigerians are making statements not expected of them and writing letters they are not expected to write.”
He spoke on Christmas Day at the Diocese of Abuja, The Cathedral Church of the Advent in Lifecamp, Gwarimpa, Abuja. He said Nigerians must always by themselves determine who leads them.
He said that the nation belonged to every Nigerian;, “the common man, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our men, our women.”
Jonathan specifically cautioned the politicians against making inflammatory statements that could heat up the polity in the name of politics.
“For us at this time especially, we the politicians, we think we own this country and begin to think about next election and doing what we ought not to do, making statement we ought not to make, writing letters we suppose not to write.
“This country belongs to our statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our men, our women, our youth. Nigeria does not belong to any politician or group of politicians.’’
The president called on Nigerians to use the occasion of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to pray for the country to overcome its challenges, particularly, insecurity.
He noted that his administration had done appreciably well in addressing the challenge of terrorism.
“For those who know about terrorism, countries that are infested with terror hardly get out of it.”
He gave the example of the incidences in Abuja, saying even the police headquarters was bombed as well as the UN building right here in the seat of government.
But for the proactive measure taken by the government and our military, may be the next target would have been the State House, Jonathan lamented.
“The primate mentioned number of issues that deal with a number of nations that deals with crisis. For those who know about terrorism, countries that are infested with terror will hardly get out of it. If you look at country like Pakistan, we even go to Pakistan to train our soldiers, in some parts of Pakistan as we are talking now there appears to be no government. So this country could have been worse.”
“Primate said if it were to be like Syria, what would we have done? Look at South Sudan they were part of Sudan and they felt that they were being dominated, they have resources, there is oil in part of South Sudan, they carried arms against the state, finally the whole world through the UN liberated them. In fact within this week we will be going for security council meeting under the AU. My envoy just came back on Sunday from where he had conversation with them on how do we stop this madness.”
“In terms of Nigeria having crisis, the primate was mentioning can Ghana accommodate us, can Sierra Leone accommodate us. I was just laughing because even now Nigerians in these countries, the people are not even comfortable, we don’t have crisis but from Cameroon to Senegal, Nigerians are everywhere. If not for political and diplomatic reasons they would have even asked some of them to leave. Then assuming we have crisis, what would be the state, where will you go? Is it the Atlantic Ocean? So I urge you to continue to pray.”
“So, we have to thank God that we have been able to bring it to a reasonable level, though we are far from getting there.
“There are a lot of challenges but we have to thank God,” he said.
Jonathan also reiterated that his style of leadership was neither high handed nor dictatorial as expected in some quarters.
Citing Biblical reference, the president said that the Jews expected Jesus Christ as a saviour that would liberate them even with violence, from the Romans invasion.
“Whenever we go through the story of Christ and leadership, it reminds you of the circumstances of the Jew in the face of the political situation today.
“When Christ was born, the Jews were told that God has given them a King, a saviour, these are the key words.
“The Jews were being dominated by the Romans, it was like when we were under the colonial masters, the Romans were governing them.
“So, when they said that there was born a king and a Messiah, they were thinking they were getting somebody who will come and lead them to war and throw away all the Romans for them to be free.
“But when Christ was born, I believe a number of the Jews were disappointed, the war they expected was not his own style.
“So today, we have similar situation, the expectations of the people are hardly met by leaders,” he said.
The president assured that his administration would do its best to lead the country aright and to its desired destination.
Earlier, in a sermon focused on Peace and Joy, the Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, said Christmas was a reminder of the Peace and Joy that the birth of Jesus Christ brought to the world.
Okoh, who is also the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, said that Jesus Christ came to reconcile God with man and to take the sins of mankind away and make the world a better place.
According to him, enduring peace can only be found in Jesus Christ, adding that “by nature, God is peaceful.
Okoh urged Nigerians, especially Christians, to embrace the lessons of Christmas, to be a source of peace and joy to others
He added that it was in the interest of the country to ensure that peace reigned as there was no other country to go to.
The clergy urged Nigerians not to join anyone to cause trouble that could lead to a situation of war.
Quoting scriptures from Luke 2: 10, Isaiah 9: n6, Galatians 3: 28, 2nd Corinthians 5: 18, John 14: 27 and Matthew 5: 9, he urged Nigerians to continue to be a source of joy to themselves, their neighbours and the whole world.
He said: “But we have challenges, how can you be talking of peace and joy to people in Syria, DRC, Southern Sudan, Middle East, Egypt, Indonesia and Ukraine. Will they understand? How do you explain joy to somebody who is bed ridden? These are the issues frost rating peace.”
Blaming the western world for these crises, he said: “The western world sell these arms to other part of the globe and are still talking about peace. The money that people steal, they take it outside and they receive it and turn back to say these people are bad.”
“Only God can give us peace and joy because man has so much complicated himself. If you have three good stories that give you joy, you are likely to have six stories that will upset you.”
He also urged Nigerians to pray against agents of darkness who are thirsting for blood.
Prayers were offered for the peace of the nation, the president, his family and all Nigerians.
Those present at the Church service include, the mother of the President, Madam Eunice, First lady, Dame Patience, and Sen. Phillip Aduda, PDP-FCT.
The Ministers of Information, Labaran Maku, Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade and the Minister of State, FCT, Mrs Jumoke Akinjide, service chiefs and presidential aides were also at the service.