President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday prayed for the in-coming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari while he admonished Nigerian leaders at various levels of government to be ready to make sacrifices for the growth of the nation.
The President spoke at the fifth presidential prayer breakfast held inside the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“We continue to pray for the country and of course, we pray for the incoming government and also pray for us who are leaving to have the opportunity to serve humanity in different phases.
“I remember in 2009 when I visited the Nordic countries, they told me they were celebrating 200 years of peace that has enabled them to develop. Nigeria was 49 years as an independent nation in 2009.
“If the Nordic countries, well developed technologically and otherwise, it means crisis really retards development.
“So we have challenges, today we are talking about Boko Haram in the north, kidnapping in south south, south east. At times you are forced to think that the nation is ending, definitely this country will overcome this challenge. 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.
“For me, I have to thank God and Nigerians for the privilege and opportunity given to me this past 16 years. I served my state as a deputy governor and governor for eight years. From government house in Yenegoa and then I came here to the state house, Abuja served the country as vice president and a president. That is a reasonable length of time and so I have to thank God, first because if God did not will it, it won’t have happened.
Jonathan also challenged past Nigerian leaders to emulate the sterling qualities of former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; and the former Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, who both demonstrate unequal patriotism to their fatherland. He noted that despite their tight schedules and their ages, the two former leaders had always attended programmes in the Villa any time they are invited.
“The support for me within this period, I will continue to do my best as I’m gradually joining Gowon and Shonekan to serve our country in different capacities.
“And I must commend Gen. Gowon and Chief 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. I have seen that they are extremely patriotic and they believe in this country. If all our leaders show that level of commitment, that level of patriotism, that believe and sincerity of purpose to our nation, then surely we will go where we want to go.
“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, a child, 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’ll end. As parents we know the kind of sacrifice we make for our children to go to school, to feed.
“To build a family you need sacrifice. So 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.
“So as we call for prayers we also call on our leaders not just local government chairmen, governors and president’s alone , I’m also calling on leaders at other levels, Ministers must make the required sacrifice, our lawmakers because they look at all our laws, they can create crisis in country if they are not ready to do things the right way.
“So all of us in leadership position must be ready to make the sacrifice and with our prayers and with our commitment Nigeria will surely get to where it wants to go,” he said.