President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday, attended a Christmas Day service at the Anglican Diocese of Abuja, The Cathedral Church of the Advent in Lifecamp with his family.
At the service, the President had strong words for some politicians “who think they own Nigeria, doing what we ought not to do, making statements we ought not to make and writing letters we ought not to write”.
Though the President did not mention any names, it is clear that he is referring to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his December 2 open letter to Jonathan in which he made weighty allegations of wrong doing including training a team of 1,000 snipers to take out those on his ‘political watch list’ ahead of the 2015 elections.
At the service, Jonathan said:
“For us at this time, especially we the politicians that we think we own this country, begin to think about next election and doing what we ought not to do, making statements we ought not to make, writing letters we are not supposed to write.
“I call on clergymen and statesmen who really own this country because this country belongs to our statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our men, our women and our youth. Nigeria does not belong to any politician or group of politicians. So we continue to urge you to pray for this country.”
Speaking on terrorism, the President said:
“The primate mentioned a number of issues that deal with a number of nations that deal with crises. For those who know about terrorism, countries that are infested with terror will hardly get out of it.
“If you look at a country like Pakistan – we even go to Pakistan to train our soldiers – in some parts of Pakistan, as we are talking now, there appears to be no government. So this country could have been worse.
“Look at the incidents in Abuja. The Police Headquarters was bombed, the United Nations (UN) building right here in the seat of government (was bombed). May be the next target would have been State House. So we have to thank God that we have been able to bring it to a reasonable level, though we are far from getting over. There are lots of challenges but we have to thank God.”
“Primate said if it were to be like Syria, what would we have done? Look at South Sudan. They were part of Sudan and they felt that they were being dominated. They have resources; there is oil in parts of South Sudan. They carried arms against the state. The entire world through the UN liberated them. This week, we will be going for the Security Council meeting under the African Union. My envoy just came back on Sunday from where he had conversation with them on how we could stop this madness.
“So we have to thank God, even though we still have this security challenges in our country, at least we are reasonably better.
“In terms of Nigeria having crisis, the Primate was saying: ‘can Ghana accommodate us? Can Sierra Leone accommodate us?’ I was just laughing because even now, there are so many Nigerians in these countries; the people are not even comfortable. From Cameroon to Senegal, Nigerians are everywhere. If not for political and diplomatic reasons they would have even asked some of them to leave. Then, assuming we have crisis, what would be the state (of things)? Where will you go? Is it the Atlantic Ocean? So, I urge you to continue to pray.
“I also thank the religious leaders in this country. They have been praying and I believe God has been hearing our prayers. We will do our best within the period that God has asked us to occupy the positions we are occupying.”
The sermon, ‘Peace and Joy’ was delivered by the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh. He said during his sermon:
“But we have challenges; how can you be talking of peace and joy to people in Syria, DRC, Southern Sudan, Middle East, Egypt, Indonesia and Ukraine? Will they understand? How do you explain joy to somebody who is bed-ridden? These are the issues.
“The western world sells these arms to other parts of the globe and are still talking about peace. The money that people steal, they take it outside and they receive it and turn back to say these people are bad.
“Only God can give us peace and joy because man has so much complicated himself. If you have three good stories that give you joy, you are likely to have six stories that will upset you.”
The Reverend urged Nigerian to continue to pray for peace at home as there was no other place to go and to pray ‘against agents of darkness who are thirsty for blood’.
“Nigerians ought to be grateful to God and live responsibly. Do not join anybody to cause trouble. If we follow life diligently, Nigeria will blossom, your lives will blossom. Refugees are not the happiest of people; don’t make yourself a refugee.”
Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience read the Old Testament lesson from Isaiah chapter 9, while the President read the Epistle from Hebrew chapter 1.
Minister of Information Labaran Maku, Minister of State (FCT) Olajumoke Akinjide, Minister of Police Affairs Caleb Olubolade were among the government officials at the service.