The immediate past President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has promised to dedicate his life to peace-building efforts across the country to reciprocate the opportunity Nigerians gave to him to serve them.
Dr. Jonathan made the pledge at a civic reception and home coming organized in his honour by the State Government at the Dr. Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre, Yenagoa.
He said peace was paramount to the development and growth of any nation, rather than political crisis that could cause chaos and anarchy.
His words: “From 1999 to date, my people, Bayelsans and Nigerians have given me the rare opportunity for me to serve as the Deputy Governor, Governor of Bayelsa and Vice President and President of the country. I remain most grateful to all Nigerians. The best I can do now is to dedicate the remaining part of my life to peace building across the country.
“Nigerians have given me so much that I cannot pay back. That is why I maintained, that we need peace in this country; we need development; political crisis do not bring development, but rather it brings destruction. And, I believe the new administration will work with all Nigerians to make sure that Nigerians are happy. I am indeed happy that one of the statements that President Muhammadu Buhari made is that he does not belong to any clique; he belongs to all Nigerians. I congratulate him for that bold statement”
Reminiscing his early political life with former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Dr. Jonathan said he and his wife, Dame Patience would remain appreciative of the love and support demonstrated by the people of Bayelsa, the Ijaw nation and indeed all Nigerians.
He also used the occasion to applaud President Muhammadu Buhari for his declaration in his inaugural speech for not belonging to any clique, describing it as a bold statement.
In his remarks, Governor Seriake Dickson described Dr. Jonathan as a hero of democracy in Nigeria and of the African continent, who did his best to serve the country.
While commending former First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience for being a pillar of support to her husband and her peace-building initiatives, Governor Dickson thanked Nigerians, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for making a minority, Dr. Jonathan its flag bearer, which made his presidency possible.
“Today is a very symbolic day and on this day I can report to this state and the Ijaw nation and the world that our hearts are full. In one breadth, there is a lot of gloom in this state, but in an another breadth, we are very grateful to God and to our fellow Nigerians, to our party and to all lovers of Nigerians that our dear brother and leader was given an opportunity to serve and he did it to the best of his ability.
“And so today, we are celebrating the glorious and historic home coming of our dear leader, the hero of democracy and the father of modern democracy. As I stood awaiting the arrival of the presidential aircraft, something historic crossed my mind, which is that, I was performing that duty for the last time and that filled me with a lot of thoughts and emotion. That is a honour that in a long while I would not have a rival in sharing; the honour of receiving a fellow citizen of this great state, a brother and a friend, a father and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Today, as I welcome you, our father and our leader, on behalf of the people of this state and the Ijaw nation, on behalf of all those who care, we welcome you.”
Also speaking, chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council and Amayanabo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diete Spiff, urged Dr. Jonathan to count his blessings and lauded his leadership style while in office.
King Diete-Spiff, who noted that God has done great things for Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation, pointed out that late Chief Obafemi Awolowo desired to be in the presidency for just one day, but Dr. Jonathan occupied the exalted position for 3,000 days.
Highpoint of the event was a brief drama sketch, titled, “The Ambassador of Peace” by the State Council for Arts and Culture.