I am President by the Grace of God - Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday attributed his emergence as the number one citizen of the country as an act of God, considering his nativity of the smallest community in Bayelsa State, which is itself the smallest state in the country.
The president, who was speaking while addressing the congregation at the Apostolic Faith Church, Jabi, Abuja where he worshiped on Sunday, related the countries current challenges to those that confronted the Israelites in the Old Testament, when abandoned Egypt for the Promised Land. However, he urged the congregation to continue to pray for the country, as that it is the only way for it to progress.
'We will try our best but this is not the time to reel out what we are doing or what we are not doing, otherwise they will think I am here to campaign. But I assure you, this congregation and indeed all Nigerians that by the will of God and your support, I am here today from nowhere.
'Any child of Nigeria can be where I am. I come from the smallest state in this country, even within the state, one of the smallest communities in Bayelsa state. Even within the community, one of the smallest families, but I am here today by the grace of God.
'That is the type of Nigeria we want to create, a Nigeria where you can get what you want if you work hard, it is not because you know somebody who knows somebody that will talk to somebody. A Nigeria that our children, if they work hard, will get whatever they want just like in other free societies like America and so on. We will work with you to help you to get to wherever you want to go'.
He refrained from delivering a formal speech, saying he has become all too familiar with misrepresentations in the media.
'I don't have a formal address, because for those of us in politics, these days are not the best days to make speeches', he said.
'Any statement we make, people look at how to paint it. The next day when you read the newspapers, you start doubting if that is what you said. So any statement we make is always used against us'.
He expressed pleasure with the congregation, saying he loved the children, the programme, and the ministration of the choir.
'Probably, this is the first time I am worshiping with you since I came to Abuja in 2007. Probably, you would have seen me more than ten times if we don't have a chapel in the villa, so we worship there every Sunday,' he continued.
'But during the Christmas and New Year period, I like to go round and interact with other brethren. The reason is actually to thank all of you for what you have been doing for this country, for your prayers. I always say and I will continue to say it that but for your prayers, probably it would have been worse than this.
'As a nation, we have our challenges, no doubt about that and anytime I look at the history of Nigeria and the challenges we face and when I read parts of the old statement about when the Israelites decided to move out of Egypt to the promised land, we have something quite similar.'
'As you are getting closer, you meet more obstacles and thank God for the sermon we heard and of course the songs showed that the greatest problem we have is love and unity. Yes, Nigeria was amalgamated by our colonial masters in 1914. By 1st January next year, Nigeria as a state will be 100 years old'.
He agreed with the pastor's earlier statement that Nigeria's creation was not by chance, but an act ordained by God. He observed that If God didn't sanction it, the North and South would not have come together.
'The details of the North and South coming together make Nigeria a very great country. I use to say that Nigeria is great not because of oil; we have countries that produce more oil than Nigeria but nobody talks about them.
'We have countries that have multi million dollars in reserve because of their wealth and nobody talks about them but here we are just talking about 40,000 dollars. But the biggest to the smallest countries talk about Nigeria. [This is] because of the diversity from the North to the South, the human and natural resources, the potentials and the population that we have.
'So, Nigeria is a country that has a special blessing from God. It is left for us to appreciate God and continue to pray for God's intervention and this country will continue to be great'.
He promised the children at the sermon that the leaders would remain totally committed to ensuring that the country improves.
'We will collectively work hard to overcome these barriers, these feelings of 'oh that I am Christian, I am a Muslim, I am Hausa, I am Ijaw.' Immediately we cross that barrier and we begin to believe that we are all Nigerians and we are committed to the development of this country, our children will surely meet a better Nigeria,' he said.