President Goodluck Jonathan has again hit back at former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the controversial 18-page letter in which Jonathan was accused of deceit, dishonesty, incompetence and clannishness among others.
At a Christmas Day service held at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Gwarinpa, Abuja, Jonathan revisited the issue when he said that some politicians who think the country belongs to them have started thinking about the next election.
Though Jonathan did not mention the name of Obasanjo, his remark that the politicians have been doing what they ought not to do, including writing letters they ought not to write, was seen as a direct reference to the former president.
He said contrary to what the politicians think, the country did not belong to any politician or group of politicians.
Rather, he said the country belonged to clergymen, statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, men, women and youths.
“For us at this time especially we the politicians that we think we own this country and begin to think about next election and doing what we ought not to do, making statement we ought not to make, writing letters we suppose not to write.
“I call on clergymen and statesmen who really own this country because this country belongs to our statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our men, our women, our youth.
“Nigeria does not belong to any politician or group of politicians. So we continue to urge you to pray for this country,” the president said.
Speaking on the spate of terrorism in parts of the country, the President said Nigerians were lucky that the situation is being brought under control.
Citing the example of Pakistan where he said it appeared there is no government in some parts of the country, Jonathan argued that naturally, countries infested with terrorism hardly survive it.
While recalling past cases of bombing recorded in the Federal Capital Territory, he guessed that the Presidential Villa, Abuja could have been the next target.
“For those who know about terrorism, country that are infested with terror will hardly get out of it. If you look a country like Pakistan, we even go to Pakistan to train our soldiers, in some parts of Pakistan as we are talking now, they appear to be no government. So this country could have been worst.
“Look at the incidences in Abuja, even the police headquarters was bombed, the UN Building was also bombed right here in the seat of government. Maybe the next target would have been the State House.
“So we have to thank God that we have been able to bring it to a reasonable level, though we are far from getting out of it. There are a lot of challenges but we have to thank God,” the President said.
While making reference to the sermon delivered by the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most. Revd. Nicholas Okoh, Jonathan agreed that none of the neighbouring countries would be able to accommodate Nigerians in case of crisis.
He noted that currently, if not for political and diplomatic reasons, some Nigerians in neighbouring countries would have been asked to leave because their hosts are not too comfortable.
“In terms of Nigeria, if we have crisis, the Primate was asking if Ghana or Sierra Leone could accommodate us.
“I was just laughing because even now Nigerians in these countries, the people are not even comfortable, we don’t have crisis but from Cameroon to Senegal, Nigerians are everywhere that the countries if not for political and diplomatic reasons they would have even asked some of them to leave.
“Then assuming we have crisis, what would be the state, where will you go? Is it the Atlantic Ocean? So I urge you to continue to pray.
“I also thank the religious leaders of this country, they have been praying and I believe God has been hearing our prayers. We will do our best within the period that God has asked us to occupy the positions we are occupying we will continue to do our best.”
Jonathan also observed that in the world today, the expectations of the society are hardly met by leaders.
He said, “When Christ was born, the Jews were told that God was giving them a King, a saviour, these are the key words.
“Today because we are used to reading the Bible, immediately you hear of the word ‘saviour,’ you will think about Christ and the characteristics of Christ.
“The Jews were being dominated by the Romans, it was like when we were under the colonial master, the Romans were governing them so they were in captive and you tell them that we are getting a king that will deliver you, we are getting a saviour, they were thinking they were getting somebody who will come and lead them to war and throw away all these Romans for them to be free.
“But when Christ was born, I believe a number of the Jews were disappointed, the war they expected was not his own style. I think it is only in one place that Christ was quoted as carrying the cane and flogged people in the synagogue where people were trading and doing all kinds of things that are not expected in the House of God.
“So today, we have similar situation. The expectations of the society are hadly met by leaders.”
Earlier in his sermon, the Anglican Primate had urged Nigerians to ensure that peace reigns in the country because Nigerians have no where to seek refuge in crisis situation.
He urged them not to join evil-doers so to wreak havoc on the country because the most sponsors of violence have houses abroad.
“As we celebrate Christmas, we call you to prayer for peace not just for yourself or the nation but also for the world.
“We should pray for agents of war, bloodletting and hostilities. Let us pray that God will restrain the powers of evil.
“How many Nigerians can Togo, Dahomey, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia absolve as refugees? It is important for Nigerians to ensure peace reigns here because we have nowhere to go. God has given us the best of places, it is in our interest to maintain it.
“I charge you to work for peace. We must be grateful to God by living responsibly, not conducting ourselves as if nothing can happen.
“Do not join anybody to cause trouble or confusion because you may be the recipient and there is no where to go. Some of you don’t even have international passports. But those who are instigating you have bank accounts and houses abroad. They will run there and come back when things have settled down. You may not be alive then.
“Do not join evil doers, it is not part of Christmas. Refugees are not the best set of people. Don’t make yourself a refugee.”