President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience attended a farewell/thanksgiving service held in their honour on Sunday, May 10 at the Cathedral Church of the Advent Life-Camp, Gwarinpa, Abuja.
Expectedly, the Church was full to the brim, with top government executives and many dignitaries present.
The president, while giving his speech, cited a disturbing example of the former South African Apartheid leader, F.W de Klerk whose wife divorced him for ending minority rule in South Africa, saying, “I hope my wife will not divorce me…” To which the First Lady replied with a shout of “Nooooo!” Much to the amusement of the entire congregation who were thrown into a wild laughter.
Read the President’s full speech below:
“I believe there are reasons for everything. Some hard decisions have their own cost. That I have ran the government this way that stabilized certain things, the electoral process and other things that brought stability into this country. They were 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? Is it not your government that this person benefited from? But this is what the person is saying. But I used to say, 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 F.W 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 still remain a global player. If we still had minority rule there, by this time, nobody will be talking about them.
“If you take certain decisions, it might be good for the generality of the people but it might affect people differently. So for ministers and aides who served with me, I sympathize with them, they will be persecuted. And they must be ready for that persecution” he said.
“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.”
He further 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.
President Jonathan however made it known that although some of his ministers did not like the fact that he conceded defeat, he is however grateful that “the ordinary people appreciate what we did.” He further thanked God Almighty and Nigerians as a whole for giving him the opportunity to serve them at various levels.
“Very few of those in my age brackets have been that lucky. All through my education were on government scholarships. I have not suffered lack, not because I’m hard-working but by 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 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 the state has helped me as a person. “I have to thank Nigerians especially, my state for giving me the opportunity to serve as deputy 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 and later serve as president from which I am exiting now as a very happy and fulfilled man,” he concluded.
See some pictures from the Thanksgiving service as posted by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Mr. President, Reuben Abati on his twitter account: