Hurray! It’s a Happy Birthday to the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan! On this day, Friday, 20th November, some 58 years ago, he was born into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Jonathan in Otueke, presently in Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa State. Today he is celebrated as the former president of the most populous black country on earth, his phenomenal rise in politics was not without pain as he will always describe it as “a journey from grass to grace”.
As he clocks 58 today, the ex-president will be remembered and missed for a lot of things as he is many things to many people. While some hold him responsible for an administration that had its shortcomings and have ridiculed him for all the wrong reasons, there are many who still hold him in high esteem for his election heroics and hail his courage in holding this nation today for the six years he sat as the president of the country. Many also miss his best gift to us – Mama Peace. And as they say, if it is not Mama Peace, it cannot be like Mama Peace. She was one of the brightest spot of his government – the unofficial presidential comedian.
In a fitting tribute to commemorate this day, a former president of the United States of America, Jimmy Carter hailed the former Nigerian President, describing him as “a symbol of democracy.” And as Nigerians show their love and admiration for the architect of the peace we enjoy today in the country, he will certainly be remembered for his famous quotes during his time as the nation’s first citizen.
Here are some of the quotable quotes of former Mr. President while he was the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the nation:
On The Economy and Development…
- In the comfort of our offices, let us not forget that majority of our people live below the poverty line.
- I am loyal to Nigeria’s economy. I don’t have accounts or property abroad. All my children live and school in Nigeria.
- Any society or country that closes the vital valves of its democratic space cannot develop at a reasonable pace.
- We may not have overcome our challenges, but neither have our challenges overcome us.
- Over-dependence on oil has put an unpleasant bracket in our national economic freedom.
- Peace and security are the barest irreducible conditions for social and economic development.
- Economic diplomacy does not need to be a zero-sum game where the gain of partner automatically translates to the loss of the other.
- Cynicism and scepticism will not help our journey to greatness. Let us all believe in a new Nigeria.
- The goal of achieving positive macroeconomic stability is no end in itself.
- Transformation in my view simply means taking what you have and making the best of it and in so doing produce results that can bring about a paradigm shift.
- The dark patches in the Niger Delta will give way to light.
On the Elections…
- In presenting myself for service, I make no pretense that I have a magic wand that will solve all of Nigeria’s problems or that I am the most intelligent Nigerian.
- I have come to launch a campaign of ideas, not one of calumny. I have come to preach love, not hate. I have come to break you away from divisive tendencies of the past which have slowed our drive to true nationhood. I have no enemies to fight. You are all my friends and we share a common destiny.
- Nobody should rig for me. I am assuring Nigerians that though I am contesting, nobody must manipulate votes in my favour. Our votes must count.
- My political ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.
- I congratulate the candidates of the other political parties. I regard them not as opponents but as partners.
- For the PDP family, the contest for party offices does not produce winners and losers.
- Where there is no opportunity for one man one vote, there will be no accountability and no responsibility.
- Our votes must count! One man, one vote! One woman, one vote! One youth, one vote!
On One Nigeria…
- We are all Nigerians and I will be a President to all. This is the new dawn we crave.
- We have a duty to be loyal to our country.
- Being a Nigerian is a blessing (and) a great responsibility.
- If God did not will it we will not be Nigerians.
- We have a duty to stand firm against those who threaten the sovereign integrity of the Nigerian state. Our will is strong, because our faith lies in the indivisibility of Nigeria.
- We must quickly move away from partisan battlegrounds and find the national common ground.
- Nigeria is a nation of resilient people. We will never yield to the forces of darkness. Nigeria will never ever, disintegrate.
- Terrorism has no conscience and spares no one.
- No matter what it takes, we will win this war against terror.
- Our founding father did not dream of a country where neighbours and friends would exchange bullets in place of handshakes.
- We are not sworn enemies. We are neighbours who sometimes offend each other, but can always sit down to talk over our differences.
- Nigerians are peace-loving people; these sad events perpetrated by those who do not wish our nation well have not changed the essential character of our people.
On Africa and the World…
- While we may not have landed a spaceship on the moon or developed nuclear technology, our inventors and innovators have made globally acknowledged contributions
- Africa must turn its begging bowls into baskets of prosperity and opportunity.
- African renaissance remains an unfinished business, but the work that remains should not stop us from focusing on new priorities and challenges.
- As the most populous black nation on earth it seems our manifest destiny is to champion the cause of African emancipation and integration.
- I am happy that the black man has put the shame of dispossession behind him and is moving on.
- Africa must declare an end to the era of self-inflicted wars and conflicts.
- The stronger the boat of (democracy), the more it is able to meet the challenges of its voyage and deliver on its promise to citizens.
- Democracy is a journey that every nation mindful of advancing the liberty of its citizens must undertake.
- The air of freedom we breathe today is the result of the sacrifices of thousands of pro-democracy activists, human rights campaigners and others who organised as civil society.
- Democracy calls for sacrifice and tolerance an open ear and a strong voice.
- As we strive to advance our democratic development, there will be times when our will shall be tested, our patience provoked and our belief questioned.
- I believe in the politics of give and take.
- The time of lamentation is over. This is the era of transformation. This is the time for action.
- We must develop a democratic culture in which the will of the people will be treated as sacred and be immune to subversion by anti-democratic elements.
- The beauty of democracy is that its practice is never final and always has room for improvement no matter how old a democratic society may be. Where we falter we must not fall. When we are weak, we must not surrender.
- Separation of power is not separation of government.
- The best advertisement for good governance is its positive expressions of happiness in the lives of the governed.
- No minister will be allowed to go on a mission of endless search for solutions.
- Let me put you on notice: the assignment of offices is not an allocation of privileges.
- Our unity is firm, our purpose strong, our determination unshakable.
- The quality of governance is as good as the quality of the civil service.
- I have no intention to inflict pain on Nigerians. To save Nigeria, we must all be prepared to make sacrifices.
- I prefer to see the silver lining in the dark cloud rather than the dark cloud in the silver lining.
- I want to assure Nigerians that crude oil is not our ‘Black Gold.’ The real ‘Black Gold’ of Nigeria are her people and they can grow in value from gold to diamond via education.
- On the football field, nobody cares who scores for Nigeria. You can be a Musa or a Moses; you can be a Christopher or a Mustapha, nobody cares.
- I once had no shoes… I was not born rich and in my youth, I never imagined that I would be where I am today, but not once did I ever give up.
- It is the supreme task of this generation to give hope to the hopeless strength to the weak and protection to the defenseless.
As he goes on in achieving greater strides in life, we wish him all the best in his endeavours.
Quotes Source: Vanguard