President Goodluck Jonathan again on Wednesday hit out at former President Olusegun Obasanjo over an 18-page letter in which he accused him of deceit, deception, dishonesty, incompetence and clannishness.
He had on Sunday described the letter as full of lies.
The President revisited the issue during a Christmas Day service held at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Gwarinpa, Abuja.
Though he did not mention the name of the former President specifically, Jonathan regretted that some politicians who thought the country belonged to them had started thinking about the next election.
In the process, he said, such politicians had started doing what they ought not to do, including writing letters.
He said contrary to what they thought, the country did not belong to any politician or group of politicians. Rather, he said Nigeria belonged to statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, men, women and youths.
Jonathan said, “We politicians that think we own this country and are already thinking about next election; we are doing what we ought not to do; making statement we ought not to make and writing letters we are supposed not to write.
“This country belongs to our statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our men, our women, our youths. Nigeria does not belong to any politician or group of politicians. So, we will continue to urge the clergymen to pray for this country.”
Jonathan also spoke on terrorism in parts of the country, saying Nigerians were lucky that the situation was being brought under control.
Citing the example of Pakistan, Jonathan argued that naturally, countries infested with terrorism hardly survived 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, countries that are infested with it hardly get out of it. If you look at a country like Pakistan where we even train some of our soldiers, there appears to be no government in some parts of it. So the situation in this country (Nigeria) could have been worse.
“In Abuja which is the seat of government, even the police headquarters was bombed and the United Nations building was also bombed . Maybe the next target would have been the State House.
“So we have to thank God that we have been able to bring terrorism 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.”
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 Nigeria’s neighbouring countries would be able to accommodate Nigerians “if we had a 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 with their presence.
Jonathan said, “The Primate was asking if Ghana or Sierra Leone could accommodate us if we have a crisis. I was just laughing because now , the people of those countries are not even comfortable with Nigerians living with them. If not for political and diplomatic reasons, they would have even asked some of them to leave.
“Assuming we have crisis, where will you go? Is it the Atlantic Ocean? So I urge you to continue to pray.
“I also thank religious leaders for praying for this country and I believe God has been hearing your prayers. We will do our best within the period that God has asked us to occupy the positions we are occupying.”
Jonathan also observed that in the world today, the expectations of the society were hardly met by leaders.
He said, “When Christ was born, the Jews were told that God was giving them a King and a saviour.
“Today, because we are used to reading the Bible, immediately you hear of the word ‘saviour,’ you will think about Christ and his attributes.
“The Jews were being dominated by the Romans, it was like when we were under the colonial masters. The Jews thought they were getting somebody who will lead them to a war and chase away the Romans for them to be free. But the war they expected was not Christ’s own style.
“I think it is only in one place that Christ was quoted as carrying the cane and flogging people in the synagogue for trading and doing other things they were not to do 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 reigned in the country because Nigerians had no where to seek refuge in crisis situation.
He urged them not to join evildoers to wreak havoc on the country because most sponsors of violence have houses abroad.
He said, “As we celebrate Christmas, we call you to pray 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 absorb 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 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 evildoers, it is not part of Christmas. Refugees are not the best set of people. Don’t make yourself a refugee.”
The clergyman said there was no link between God and violence.
He observed that most economies being referred to as rich and prosperous, produced and sold weapons to kill and maim.
The service’s Old Testament lesson from Isaiah 9: 2, 6 and 7 was read by the wife of the President, Patience, while the President read the epistle from Hebrews 1: 1-12.
Special prayers were offered for the President and his family as well as the nation.
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