President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday asked leaders in all spheres of the Nigerian society to make sacrifices in order to move the country forward while urging the nation’s leaders to emulate former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.) and the former Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan who he described as patriots.
The President made this declaration at the fifth presidential prayer breakfast held inside the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President said, “I always say leadership is not all about giving directives; a successful leader must be ready to make sacrifice. Everything about human life as an individual, requires sacrifice. If you don’t make the required sacrifice you can’t go to where you want to go. If you don’t sacrifice your pleasure, of course, you will know where you will end. As parents, we know the kind of sacrifice we make for our children to go to school and to feed. To build a family, you need sacrifice. For those who have the privileges of leading at local, state and national levels, at all times we should be ready to make sacrifice for our nation to grow.” he said
“As we call for prayers, we also call on our leaders not just local government chairmen, governors and president alone. I am calling on leaders at other levels, including ministers, that they must make the required sacrifice. All of us in leadership position must be ready to make sacrifice and with our prayers and with our commitment, Nigeria will surely get to where it wants to go.”
The President also thanked Nigerians for the opportunity given him to serve in various capacities in the last 16 years stating that he would continue his good work as he joins the league of the nation’s former leaders.
Jonathan said, “I have to thank Nigerians for the support for me within this period. I will continue to do my best as I am gradually joining Gowon and Shonekan to serve our country in a different capacity. I must commend Gowon, Shonekan and some of our other leaders. For the eight years I have been as Vice President and President, whenever we called upon them, wherever they are in this world, they will try to come.”
The President said with prayers, the country would overcome its current challenges.
“Today, we are talking about Boko Haram in the North and kidnapping in the South-East. At times, you are forced to think that the nation is ending, definitely this country will overcome these challenges.
“That is the reason for these prayers. Just like prayers helped Nehemiah to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, our constant prayers will help us rebuild this nation.
“We should continue to pray for the country and of course, we should pray for the incoming government and also pray for us who are leaving to have the opportunity to serve humanity in different phases.
“For me, I have to thank God and Nigerians for the privilege and opportunity given to me these past 16 years. I served my state as a deputy governor and governor for eight years from Government House in Yenagoa.”
Ven. Obioma Onwuzurumba, Chaplain to the President, remarked that the event was organised to thank God for the mercies he had showered on the Jonathan’s administration for these past years.
The programme which featured special prayers for the nation, the President and other leaders as well as rendition of special songs saw the attendance of bigwigs included Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim; members of the Federal Executive Council; members of the National Assembly; members of the Diplomatic Corps; President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; and the clergy among others.
Once again,the President’s wife, Patience, was missing at the side of her husband, a new trend she seems to have emulated since Jonathan lost at the polls.
She was also absent during the Good Friday and Easter Sunday services held inside the Aso Villa Chapel.