Jonathan spoke in Abuja at the Apostolic Faith Church, Jabi, during the Sunday church service.
The President noted that lack of love and unity was the greatest problem facing the country.
He likened the nation’s challenges to those faced by the Israelites in the Old Testament when they were leaving Egypt for the Promised Land.
Jonathan promised to bequeath a better Nigeria to the coming generation.
The President urged the congregation to continue to pray for Nigeria because it is specially blessed by God and would get to greater heights through the prayers.
Jonathan said: “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 in this congregation and 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, I am from one of the smallest families. But I am here today (as President) 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. We want a Nigeria where 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.”
The President said he was recently misquoted by the media.
He said: “I don’t have a formal address. It’s because, for those of us in politics, these days are not the best days to make speeches. That’s also because in any statement we make, people look at how to paint it. The next day, when you read the newspapers, you start doubting if that was what you said. So, any statement we make is always used against us.
“But I am quite pleased to be here with you today to worship with you. I love the children and your programme. I love the choir ministration. Probably, this is the first time I am worshipping with you since I came to Abuja in 2007. Probably, you would have seen me more than 10 times, if we don’t have a chapel in the Villa. So, we worship there every Sunday.
“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; there’s no doubt about that. 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 January 1, next year, Nigeria as a state will be 100 years old.”
Alluding to the divine creation of Nigeria, he said: “But I totally agree with our man of God that it was not by chance; it was ordained by God. If God didn’t want it at that point, the North and South would not have come together. The details of the North and South coming together make Nigeria a 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. Yet, nobody talks about them. But the biggest to the smallest country talks about Nigeria. Why? It’s 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. This country will continue to be great.
“I promise our children that we are totally committed to make sure that they meet a different Nigeria. We will collectively work hard to overcome these barriers, these feelings of ‘Oh, I am Christian, or I am a Muslim; I am Hausa or 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.”
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