Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday, February 3, 2017 said he bore no grudge against those who criticised him while in office.
Writing on his Facebook Page, Dr. Jonathan said those apologising to him for criticising him during his tenure needed not do so because they only performed their civic duties at the time.
“I never felt offended or held a grudge.
“Mohammad, please do not feel bad. You did what you did as your patriotic duty.
“A true leader must appreciate his critics. Sometimes they tell him the truth more than friends.
“I appreciate you. God bless you Mohammad,” Dr. Jonathan wrote.
Jonathan was reacting to a tweet by one Mohammad Deedee who asked the former president to forgive him for criticising him on November 20, 2014, when the Nigerian naira exchanged for 180 to a dollar and 280 to a pound.
“Today a dollar is N180 and a pound is N280. Hope you have a family… This is really the transformation agenda. GEJ has finished Nigeria,” Mr. Deedee, who tweets from the handle @deee009, posted at the time.
That post was an instant hit, getting 980 retweets, 159 replies and 150 likes.
But the dollar now exchanges for 498 naira at the open market with the pound sterling and the euro trading at N596 and N520 respectively.
Apparently irritated by this unprecedented declining fortune of the naira, Deedee posted a tweet on January 30 regretting his criticism of Mr. Jonathan at a time the naira was by far stronger.
— Ben Murray-Bruce (@benmurraybruce) February 2, 2017
“GEJ should please forgive me,” he posted at 11:32 AM on January 30, attaching a screenshot of his November 20, 2014 tweet.
The post also turned out a popular tweet, garnering 431 retweets, 115 likes and 36 replies.
On Friday, Jonathan responded to the post, telling Deedee,
“Please do not feel bad. You did what you did as your patriotic duty.
“A true leader must appreciate his critics. Sometimes they tell him the truth more than friends. I appreciate you. God bless you Mohammad. GEJ.”
The post also became popular on Facebook, drawing 3,458 shares and 1,038 comments as at 6:31 p.m. Nigerian time.
Some commentators praised Mr. Jonathan for having a “good heart” while others condemned him for pushing Nigeria into the present economic difficulty.
Jonathan, who has over 2.2million fans on Facebook, has from time to time engaged his followers on the social media platform.
On January 20, he stopped by to thank Samuel Oluwafemi Adeshina who a day before wrote: “As I stepped into the Kubwa railway station yesterday on boarding to Kaduna, one thing came to my mind: God bless Goodluck Jonathan.”
The former President currently runs a foundation named after him and attends high profile public events around the world.
This article originally appeared on Reuben Abati.