"I am the luckiest Nigerian" - President Goodluck Jonathan

Taking into cognisance his political rise from deputy governor to governor and later vice-president to president, President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said providence had smiled on him as he was the luckiest Nigerian ever.

Jonathan stated this when he received a delegation of Christians who paid him an Easter homage at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

According to him, in the last 16 years, he had always been in government houses and fed with public funds.
“I am one of the luckiest Nigerian, for 16 years, I have been taken care by government. I think it is enough and I thank God for that. I continue to thank Nigerians for the opportunity. Today, I must say I am grateful to this country,” he said.
He thanked the delegation for the homage paid on him, saying Easter is a period to reflect on the essence of “our belief. Because we believe without the resurrection, they would not have been Christianity.
“Whenever we talk about this period, the key lessons there is sacrifice. Somebody sacrificed for our own salvation.

“So as a people, as a government, what I always believed is we should ask what sacrifice are we making. Now is not about supporting Jonathan or government, now Muhamadu Buhari is coming on board, is not about supporting Buhari or government but what sacrifice as individual are you willing to make for government and for the 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.

“While in Bayelsa State as a deputy governor, people use to come to me to say I’m loyal. Don’t tell me you are loyal, tell me I’m patriotic to the country and that you believe in Bayelsa State.

“To me, whenever I travel to different countries and see things work, those things didn’t fall down as manner, people made sacrifice, therefore in Nigeria, people must also be ready to make the required sacrifice.”
He added that whoever became president was immaterial so long as Nigerians are happy, and “our children go to school, when we are sick they go to good hospital and of course the economy blossom.
“But for that to take place, people must make the required sacrifice. In the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)sub-region for example, Nigeria has the lowest VAT (value added tax) of five per cent payment, 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.”
Jonathan stressed that nation building was about sacrifice of individuals and the patriotism of the citizens, noting that these were two key elements that Nigerians must be ready to sacrifice for the nation.
The president further said: “We are talking about Boko Haram or terrorists soldiers are dying for us to live, police are dying for us to live, that is sacrifice.

“As individuals, you don’t need to die but there are various roles you need to play to make sacrifice.

“The economy of China was threatened but they locked up themselves for a period of time but by the time they opened their doors, they become even a threat to the biggest economy. Are we ready for that kind of sacrifice for the government? Whenever we talk of Easter, these are the key lessons of sacrifice.

“I thank you for coming to encourage us. Though this Easter period coincides with when I am leaving, but I always say I am one of the luckiest Nigerian. From 1999 till date, that for 16 good years, I have been in the hands of the state, I think that is enough and I am happy, help me to thank God for that.
“I will continue to thank Nigerians for giving me that privilege. I became deputy governor because Bayelsans voted for me and my governor then, I became VP because Nigerians voted for me and the late Yar’Adua and Nigerians also voted for me and Sambo; we have to thank all Nigerians. Wherever I will be, I have to thank all Nigerians.”
Credit: Jaiyeola Andrews/ThisDay