Jonathan to Aides: Prepare for Persecution

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Friends and allies of President Goodluck Jonathan fought back tears on Sunday as he gave what could be regarded as his valedictory speech.
At an emotion-laden thanksgiving service held in his honour at the Anglican Church, Life Camp, Abuja, the outgoing President told his ministers and other aides to expect persecution. He also, however, pledged to continue giving his best to the country, whether in or out of government.
Noting the penchant of politicians for shifting loyalty as soon as power slips from one hand to another, the president said that he expects to be deserted soon by those who daily mill around him.
Jonathan, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost his reelection bid to Major General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He will hand over power to General Buhari on May 29.
About 18 days into the end of his administration, Jonathan pledged to continue giving his best to the country even if it meant laying down his life in the process. 
He noted that the country had given him a lot right from his primary school days to the present, adding that he is bowing out as a “very happy and fulfilled man”. 
He said he had every reason to thank his home state of Bayelsa and the country at large for all the opportunities he had had to serve, admitting that not many persons in his generation had been as fortunate as he had been in his political career. 
The President recalled that he got everything from the country on a platter of gold, having been on government scholarship from primary school to secondary education, as well as for his first and second university degrees. He added that he didn’t even have to pay for his PhD course because the bill for it was picked by his then employers.
He said if soldiers and police officers who do not earn anything close to him die while protecting him and other Nigerians, it would not be too much if he also sacrifices all he has, including his life, for the country. 
His words: “When I look at the whole picture of my life up to when I became the President of this country; and I say that if soldiers and Police officers that have not received 0. 5 percent 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.”  
The President continued: “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. The 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.”
His speech was greeted by wild applause from the congregation. 

Continuing, the President said that before he was able to clean up the country’s electoral process and achieve other reforms, he had to take certain hard decisions which might have caused him reelection. 
Giving insight into what he expects after leaving office, President Jonathan predicted that his ministers and aides would be persecuted while more of his friends would also desert him in the days ahead. 
He recalled the story of the last ruler of apartheid South Africa, F.W. de Klerk who was divorced by his wife for abolishing minority rule in his country. Jocularly, he expressed hopes that his wife, Dame Patience, would not also divorce him for accepting defeat in the last Presidential election, to which the First Lady, who accompanied her husband to the ceremony, replied with a resounding “Nooooo.”
The mild drama drew another applause from the worshippers. 
Waxing philosophical about his electoral defeat, the President said: “I believe there are reasons for everything. Some hard decisions have their own cost, no doubt about that; that I have run 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 myself must be ready to pay for.”
He continued: “Some people come to me and say this or that person, is he not your friend that benefitted? Is it not your government that this person benefitted 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 FW De clerk 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 by this time. If we still had that minority rule there, by this time, nobody will be talking about South Africa now.”  
The President said further: “If you take certain decisions, it might be good for the generality of the people but it might affect some 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.” 

Quoting the immortal words of the late activist elder statesman, Dr. Tai Solarin, the President told his aides: “May your ways be rough. 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. “
The President thanked Nigerians for their support and urged the church and other religious groups to pray for the success of the incoming administration, saying what matters is not the person in charge of government, but how the citizens get the dividends of democracy.  
He said: “We are happy that the ordinary people appreciate what we did and that is most important. It’s not what the elite or the privileged few talk or say about you but what the majority of the Nigerian public think about your actions and inactions that matter.  We came to Abuja peacefully and we are returning peacefully. 
“I thank the church and Nigerians because they stood by us at our most difficult times. 
“Even for the election, we had people who supported us all over the country but things went the way they did because God wanted it that way for a purpose. 
“We will continue to pray for the peace of the country and for the success of the incoming administration. When the country is in good shape, people benefit. When things are going well, people are happy. You don’t need to know Mr President or Mr Governor. The issue is not about Jonathan or Buhari or any other person. The issue is how the government functions.  Stability, buoyant economy that will enable Nigeria to move forward and live happily is all I am interested in. That is our interest; that is my prayer point. All religious groups should pray for the country.”
Speaking earlier, former Minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana described the President as man who was favoured by God in many ways, thanking God for what He used Jonathan to achieve for the country.
“Jonathan is a man of favour. He is highly favoured by God. We thank God for what He has done for Nigeria through the man. Despite the big positions he occupied in the country, Jonathan has remained humble and he has succeeded in deepening democracy in the country. He revived the rail system of transportation. He brought back hope to Nigeria and to cap it all he conceded defeat to his opponent in a heroic manner,” the former minister said. 
Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo also praised the President while reeling out some of his unique qualities and achievements in office.  

“He is humane, gentle and unassuming. He has transformed Nigeria. He is not vindictive. He loves the youths. He empowered, mentored and motivated youths and women. He is a listening leader. He listens to everyone in Council before making judgement. He fixed the electoral process and brought credibility into it. He is Nigeria’s greatest leader,” Nebo said

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