Buhari Need Your Prayers Not Me, Jonathan Tell Nigerians

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Buhari Jonathan_0President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday urged Christians, and all Nigerians to prayer fervently for the incoming government of Muhammadu Buhari, because his success is to the benefit of the entire country.

Jonathan, who leaves office in  four days, made the appeal in his farewell address during the Presidential Thanksgiving/Inauguration Interdenominational Church Service at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.

He pointed out that while he retires to private life where the effects of his actions will be limited, Buhari’s action after inauguration on Friday will have widespread impacts on the entire nation, hence his requiring more prayers than an outgoing government.

Recalling his presentation to the same congregation as Vice-President-elect in 2007, Jonathan expressed delight that the day’s service was for another inauguration and celebration of Nigeria’s unity and not a funeral service for the mass burial of Nigerians.

He stressed that as a nation, Nigeria, being a relatively young nation, has many reasons to be grateful to God, 101 years after amalgamation and 55 years post-Independence.

According to him: “One good thing is that since 2007, we have always been here for the inauguration service, and today we are here. That shows clearly that whoever is the President or VP (Vice President), we have one nation. We have one God.

“I join every other person to thank God for today. For me I’m a very grateful to Go because in 2007 when I was here and I was asked to speak, I can’t remember exactly what I said.

“But one thing I do know is that I called upon the Christians to pray for me for God to guide me in all my activities. As a mere mortal I can’t claim to be perfect… never. I must have done things wrongly in one way or the other.

“I must have sinned in several ways but I prayed and I called on the Christians to pray for me that any decision that I would take that would affect the nation, God should guide.

“If it is personal, it will affect me alone but anything that would affect the rest of Nigerians, I always prayed that God should guide me in whatever I do.

“I am quite pleased that today we are here, not to celebrate the disintegration of this country but we are celebrating the unity of this country.

“We are here not having mass service for mass burial but we are for a mass service to inaugurate an incoming government.

“This became possible because of men and women like you, those who are here and those who are outside, who have been praying and praying.

“God heard our prayers and has designed everything for all of us. We are only to follow.

“Once again, I thank all of you for the support. I call on you to pray for those of us who are leaving because today is probably the last day I will speak to you as president of Nigeria.

“Today is unique to me. I have to call on you to pray for me, my wife, my family and members of my government, ministers and others as we leave.

“But you should even pray more for the incoming government because we leaving to go and manage our private businesses. But the incoming government is coming in to manage the whole country, so they require more prayers.

“I can make a mistake and it will affect only me and probably a few people but if they make a mistake it will affect the whole nation.

“So, I call on all Christians and other religious bodies to pray for the incoming government, for them to succeed because all what we want as a nation is good government for prosperity, for unity, for peace.

“We can’t achieve that without the help of God. I thank you all for your prayers and support these past eight years. On behalf of my family, my family and children and all the people around me, I say thank you and good bye,” he stressed.

The First Lady, Patience Jonathan, attended the service as well as Vice-President-elect, Yemi Osinbajo, who was accompanied by his wife, Dolapo, read a Bible Lesson from the Gospel of Luke 17:11-19.

In his brief remarks, Osinbajo prayed for God to give Jonathan peace and compassion all the rest of his life for his commendable democratic gesture, as well as strength and long life to see the great glory of Nigeria.

He prayed for God to make the nation the envy of others, and for thanksgiving not to cease in the home of all Nigerians.

He told Jonathan: “God Almighty will cause His mercy and compassion to remain in your life in the name of Jesus. And everyday of your life, you will experience and joy and that you will look back at these days in peace and joy.

“And that the God almighty will strengthen you and that you will live long to see even the great glory of this nation in the name of Jesus.

“I pray also for this nation, that Almighty God will help and cause this nation to be what He has purposed it to be – a nation that all will envy and admire.”

Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Reverend Nicholas Okoh, delivered the sermon, focusing on the theme of forgiveness. He noted that Nigerians have been the winners in all that happened since the general elections, noting that the campaigns ahead of the polls was the costliest and most bitter in Nigeria’s history. Despite this, he said forgiveness was needed for everyone to be at peace with God and enjoy the benefits of the polls.

Whenever it appeared grace and hope were lost, God supported the President through hard times in the governance of the country, said Okoh, who prayed that God, the Perfect Doctor, would heal Nigeria and restore Nigerians and the country to good health.

He observed that God had shown favour to Jonathan through his political career, and Nigerians were united in the hope that all is well and will continue to be well with Nigeria, especially against the background of the tension that preceded the presidential elections.

Okoh coined the word ‘Jonathanism’ as the virue of conceding victory to an opponent to detriment of self for the benefit of the whole country, which is a legacy Jonathan would be leaving behind.

He said if properly managed, the peace engendered by Jonathan’s gesture of conceding victory to his opponent, should be the capital to be invested in the future progress and unity of Nigeria.

The cleric challenged the incoming government to take up the gauntlet from there and build a great future of prosperity for the country, with support in prayers from Nigerians.

He appealed to the incoming government of Muhammadu Buhari to complete whatever is seen as good thing or project of the outgoing government.

Okoh further charged Jonathan to continue on the path of peace and peace-making as he leaves office to be one of Nigeria’s statesmen.

Special prayers were said for the President and his family; the Executive; Judiciary; Legislature; President and Vice-President elects; the nation and the Church.

Other prominent guests who graced the event included Senate President David Mark; Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha; former head of state, Yakubu Gowon; Secretary to Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; Head of Service, Danladi Kifasi; members of the National Assembly; Chief of Defence Staff and other service chiefs; members of the diplomatic corps.

There were also chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by the party’s national chairman, John Oyegun; Professor Tam David West and senior Christian clerics.