Outgoing President Goodluck
Jonathan has asked for forgiveness
from Nigerians hurt directly or
indirectly by his actions during his
tenure as Vice- President, acting
President and President.
He explained to worshippers at a
farewell service organised in his
honour at the Aso Villa Chapel in
Abuja on Sunday, that those actions
were not deliberately done.
Jonathan pointed out that there
were times one would take a
decision in the best interest of all
but friends and associates might
not understand why.
The President said, “Nothing is
perfect; if you wait for perfection,
you cannot achieve anything. No
system is perfect. Every human
system has an element of
“So, for the eight years that I have
been here as Vice-President, acting
President and President, I can say
that no one is perfect.
“We have done certain things that
probably we shouldn’t have done,
but we didn’t do them deliberately.
“So, for those that we offended, it
was not deliberate; it was as a
result of the exigencies of the
“We plead that such people should
forgive us; I think we have done
our best. You may do your own best
and your friends and associates
may misunderstand you.”
Jonathan thanked God and those
who stood by him and his family in
the last eight years, saying he had
every reason to be thankful.
While admitting that public office
holders have different roles, the
President said no head of
government, be it at the national or
sub- regional levels, could do
He however said it was normal for
office holders to set and achieve
targets so that their tenure would
Jonathan recalled that when he was
the governor of Bayelsa State, his
target was to construct two bridges
in the state annually.
But he said that that dream was
cut short when he was nominated
as the vice presidential candidate
of the then Peoples Democratic
Party’s candidate, Umaru Yar’Adua
The President said although he was
leaving as President and his wife as
the First Lady, they would not leave
members of the Aso Rock Chapel
who were relentless in praying for
Jonathan added, “I believe some of
you may even come closer and
even do more meaningful things
together when we leave office.
“The office is quite challenging;
some of you may desire to see us
but I believe that as we move
forward, things will get better.
“I don’t believe that it is only in
government that one can do
things; outside it (government),
you can do a lot.
“The richest people in the world
don’t even serve in government.
(Aliko) Dangote has never been in
government, yet he is doing so
“Bill Gates too has never been in
government, yet he is the richest
man in the world. So outside
government, a lot of things
happen; It is for us to be committed
and be focused.
Joyful atmosphere pervaded the
chapel during the service which
was the last time Jonathan and his
family would be worshipping there
(chapel) before May 29.
There will not be service at the
chapel on May 24 because of an
interdenominational service to
commemorate the nation’s
Democracy Day at the National
Christian Centre, Abuja.
members, friends and associates of
Jonathan and his family as well as
top government officials turned out
en masse to wish them well.
The chapel committee and the
children presented gifts to
Jonathan, his wife, Patience, and his
The President later led his family
members to dance at the altar for a
special thanksgiving to express
gratitude to God for being with
them in the last five years.
The President’s Chaplain, Ven.
Obioma Onwuzurumba, in a short
message titled, “To God be the
Glory” thanked God for keeping the
Jonathan family safe throughout
their stay in the Presidential Villa.
Mrs. Jonathan read the first lesson
of the service from Numbers
6:22-27 while the Executive
Secretary, Nigerian Christian
Pilgrims Commission, John
Kennedy-Okpara, read the second
lesson from 2 Chorinthians 13:11-14.
The service featured special
presentation by the children,
presentation by the chapel
committee and special prayers for
A five-year-old girl, Juliet Ishola of
the children church, stole the show
with a memory verse taken from 1
Timothy 6: 6-7.
She got a standing ovation from
the congregation when after
reading the verse, she turned to
Jonathan and said, “For emphasis, I
will take verse 7 of I Timothy
chapter 6 again which says “For we
brought nothing into this world
and it is certain we will not take
Juliet went on to tell the President,
“You seem to understand this verse
more than all of us by your reaction
to the results of the 2015
“God bless you sir for allowing
peace to reign in the country.”
Osinbajo fails to take over
However, the expectation that
Jonathan would formally hand over
the chapel to the Vice President-
elect, Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday did
Former President Olusegun
Obasanjo was said to have handed
over the worship centre to
Jonathan as the Vice President
since the then President-elect
(Yar’Adua) was a Muslim.
The same process would have
taken place on Sunday but for
Onwuzurumba later confirmed to
State House correspondents that
the handover process was part of
the programme packaged for the
He said it could not be done
because the President-elect did
not attend the service in person.
“We actually invited the President-
elect for the handing over of the
chapel but for one reason or the
other, he was absent.
“But he was represented in the
service by a regional pastor of the
Redeemed Christian Church of God.
The handover will be done later.”
Pastor Emmanuel Ibitaye from the
RCCG was one of the guests
recognised during the service but
he was not introduced as
Among the prominent persons who
attended the service were Peter
Obi, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha,
members of the National Assembly,
members of the Federal Executive
Council as well as heads of
government agencies and