I've been in cage for 16 years- Jonathan

VANGUARD Newspaper- Ben Agande

Abuja — Barely a month to his exit, having lost the Presidential election, President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, reviewed his sojourn in government and declared that he has been in a cage for 16 years.

President Jonathan, who bared his mind when the Christian community in Abuja paid him the traditional Easter homage, said he has had enough and expressed gratitude to Nigerians for giving him the opportunity to serve.
From left: President Goodluck Jonathan; Chief of Staff, Brig.-Gen. Jones Arogbofa; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Mr. John Kennedy Opara; former minister of health, Prof. Onyebuchi Ohukwu and others during Easter day church service at Aso villa chapel in Abuja on Sunday

From left: President Goodluck Jonathan; Chief of Staff, Brig.-Gen. Jones Arogbofa; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Mr. John Kennedy Opara; former minister of health, Prof. Onyebuchi Ohukwu and others during Easter day church service at Aso villa chapel in Abuja on Sunday

While describing himself as one of the luckiest Nigerians today, President Jonathan said Nigerians had given him opportunity to serve the country in the last 16 years at different levels of leadership, noting that he remained grateful to God and the people of the country for providing him with such privilege.

His words: “This Easter period coincides with when I’m leaving but I always say I’m one of the luckiest Nigerians. From 1999, I have been in the hands of government. I am yet to see somebody who is luckier than me.

“I was in the hands of governments for 16 years, not in government as a parliamentarian, because if you are in the National Assembly or state House of Assembly, you take care of yourself in your house. I was in a cage being taken care of by the government. But I think it is enough and I am happy. Help me thank God for that.”

Nigerians must sacrifice for Buhari to succeed — Jonathan

Jonathan said the in-coming President, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) can only succeed if Nigerians cooperate with him and are ready to make sacrifice for the nation.

He said those countries which succeeded achieved such success because of the sacrifice of its people.

According to him, “as a people, what I always believe we should ask is what sacrifice are we making? It is not about supporting Jonathan or government. Now, Buhari is coming on board, it is not about supporting Burhari or his government but what sacrifice are you willing to make for government and for the nation as an individual?

“Nation-building depends on the sacrifice of individuals and the patriotism of the citizens. These are two key elements, and we must be ready to sacrifice for our nation.

“If you are a businessman and you say you are supporting government but you don’t pay tax, how do you expect that government to survive? That government will not survive. To me, whenever I travelled to different countries and saw things work, I realised those things didn’t fall down as manna but people made sacrifice.

“Therefore, in Nigeria people must also be ready to make the required sacrifice. Whoever becomes president is immaterial so long as the citizens are happy. Our children go to school, when we are sick they go to good hospitals and of course the economy blossoms.”

Nigeria has lowest VAT in ECOWAS sub-region

The president explained that Nigeria has the lowest Value Added Tax, VAT, of five per cent in the entire Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, sub-region, wondering whether Nigerians will accept an increase of about 12 per cent from the in-coming government of Buhari, for instance.

He said: “In ECOWAS sub-region, for example, Nigeria has the lowest VAT of five per cent payment, while other countries pay up to 12 per cent. If, for instance, Buhari decides to increase VAT from five to 10 per cent, will Nigerians support him? That is sacrifice and we must make sacrifice.”

Sambo lauds Jonathan

In his remarks, Vice President Namadi Sambo commended the President for the leadership he has provided the country resulting in huge infrastructural development in different sectors.

He said Nigerians will soon realise that President Jonathan is a great man who meant well for the entire country.

Sambo also commended President Jonathan for conceding defeat to the President-elect, saying: “Your action has saved Nigeria and made you tall in the comity of nations. Your name will ever be put in gold not only in the history of Nigeria but also the whole of Africa. I am proud to have been your vice, you will ever remain my teacher.”

President Jonathan had attended a church service earlier to celebrate Easter at the Aso Rock Chapel where the Chaplain, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba, enjoined Christians to emulate Christ.

He likened the President’s action to the death of Jesus Christ which, according to him, was necessary to save the world.

Present at the homage were the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan; Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed; Olajumoke Akinjide; President, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Abuja Chapter, Israel Akanji; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Ayim; Head of Service of the Federation; Primate Anglican Communion, Nicholas Okoh and the Deputy Governor of Sokoto among others.

Buhari ‘ll restore dignity of black man —Rawlings

Meanwhile, former Ghanaian President, Mr Jerry Rawlings, has hailed Nigerians for voting in General Buhari as the next president, saying the former military ruler would “restore the dignity of the black man.”

According to Rawlings in a statement yesterday, “Nigerians have taken the lead in the rejection of corruption. Nigerians did not just vote anyone. They voted for a man whose integrity is extremely high. Nigeria is tired of corruption and the choice of this leader is a clear indication of where she wants to go.

“I hope General Buhari will put together a team whose understanding of the power of the people recognizes and respects the will of the people.”

He said Buhari must meet sky-high expectations as he settles down to his new office, adding: “The election result is a manifestation of the people’s resolve to confront corruption, dishonesty and exploitation. This is a clear message to the new leadership. A bold step has been taken towards a new Nigeria and the in-coming leader cannot be unaware of what is expected of him.”

Top of Rawlings’ wish list is that Buhari restores the dignity of the black race, a task the former Ghanaian leader argued the incumbent President Jonathan failed at.

He said: “General Buhari owes it to his people and to black Africans, the restoration of our pride and the black man’s dignity.

“The image of President Jonathan, a Nigerian President climbing up the stairs to go and complain about Boko Haram to a French President is an image I hope I will not see again.”


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