Former Presidents, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State have reaffirmed their call on Nigerians to embrace peace and unity for the good of the country.
The leaders spoke on Sunday during a Thanksgiving Service for the successful groundbreaking ceremony of the Azikel Refinery, at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of the State.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Francis Ottah Agbo, quoted Chief Obasanjo as saying that, leaders particularly the political class must work for unity, peace and genuine reconciliation, irrespective of tribe, religion and political affiliation.
Chief Obasanjo, who heralded his speech with one of his favourite hymns, “Amazing Grace,” noted that, God has blessed Nigeria with all the prerequisites of greatness.
He urged Nigerians to learn from history rather than make the same mistakes and expect to have a better result.
His words: “In a country, like Nigeria, unless we preach, teach and practice reconciliation, then, we will not have peace. And unless, we have peace, we will not have development. And unless, we have development, we will not have growth.
“And without growth, we will not come out of poverty. Even if some of us are exceptionally lucky and are able to get out, majority of us will be writhing in poverty and that’s not what God has ordained for this country.
” This nation is a land flowing with milk and honey and a land of plenty and prosperity.”
In his remarks, former President Jonathan, who corroborated the views of Chief Obasanjo said, God has not made a mistake by bringing people of diverse culture and religion together as a nation.
Dr. Jonathan, therefore, expressed optimism of a better Nigeria in the near future, stressing that the country is not as bad as it is being portrayed in some sections of the media.
“Just as President Obasanjo said, the crowning of this event, is the children that came out here to perform in different languages and dance steps. That is what this country should be and I pray that, as we progress as a nation, one day, all the churches and mosques will bring children to do this kind of dance drama so that we all will know the message of unity should be carried on.
” And of course, if you listen to the radio, watch television and go especially to the social media, then you’ll feel as if the country is hanging on a keg of gunpowder that can explode any day.”
Also emphasizing the need for peace, Governor Dickson said, his administration has been building bridges of unity within and outside the state.
Governor Dickson, who appreciated Chief Obasanjo for his time in Bayelsa and his fatherly counsel, assured that, the state would continue to hold him in high esteem for his support.
“In the course of this visit, we have showcased our very special state to the rest of the country and to the world. Essentially, we have a state in Bayelsa that is at peace with itself and with the country and the rest of the world.
” A state that is at the epicenter of all things that are good. We want to thank our president, father and leader for encouraging, supporting and counselling us. We assure him that he will continue to be our father.”
Earlier in a sermon, the Bishop of Ogbia Diocese, Rt. Rev. James Aye-Oruwori, enjoined Nigerians to shun all divisive tendencies and trust in God, who alone has the powers to salvage the country from its current woes.
Dignitaries at the service include, wife of the former President Jonathan, Dame Patience Jonathan, his mother, Eunice, Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah, Chairman, Bayelsa Traditional Rulers Council, King Alfred Diete Spiff, former Managing Director, NDDC, Chief Ndutimi Alaibe and President of Azikel Group, Dr. Godbless Eruani.