Remarks of Her Excellency, Dame (DR) Patience Goodluck Jonathan, First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, at her Praise and Thanksgiving event at the Banquet hall, State House, Abuja, on Sunday February 17, 2013
With a grateful heart, I welcome you all to this special event of my praise and thanksgiving.
I must confess that I am overwhelmed by the massive turn out of Nigerians from all walks of life and all parts of the country.
In the words of John Wesley “God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it”.
Indeed, words fail me to adequately express my gratitude to the good people of this great country Nigeria, for their show of love for me during my recent trial.
My case can correctly be described in the words of King David, in Psalm 23 Verse 4, which says “…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me , thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”.
It is therefore the Grace of God, expressed in His kindness and mercy, and the supplications of you all that I stand before you today, as a living testimony to the goodness of the Lord.
This is especially so when you remember that I emerged from a situation that can be said to defy logic and even challenged medical science. But God proved His words in Lamentations 3 Verse 37, that “who is he that says, and it comes to pass, when the Lord commands it not?”
All Praise to His Most Holy name!
I must also say that this experience is another confirmation that Nigerians are truly connected to heaven, even as our prayers are like sweet smelling aroma before God.
Your Prayers gave me hope to live. Your support to my husband encouraged me. Your presence here today is inspiring and I promise to live on as God gives me strength.
I therefore wish to appeal to us all in this country to resolve to explore this privilege in all areas of our national life.
Let us always invite Him into our situations, knowing that it is, He alone, and not Mr. President, or anyone else for that matter among our leaders that has the ability to do all things well.
I am confident that your intercessions that worked so effectively for me, can also move the hand of God for this great nation.
May I therefore appeal to all Nigerians, to lift up our leaders always in prayers, so that the Holy Spirit will continually lead, guide and teach them to do God’s will in all things, and not to declare evil concerning them.
This duty is a command from God as recorded in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 23 Verse 5, which says “thou shall not speak evil of the ruler of thy people”.
Furthermore, the scriptures enjoin us in the First Book of Timothy, Chapter 2 Verse 2, to pray “for Kings, and for all that are in authority…”
This is one significant area of our collective duty in the task of nation building.
Together as country men and women, let us stand up and resist the enemy in our land. We are able to do this, because Apostle Paul says in James Chapter 4 Verse 7, that “…resist the devil, and he will flee from you”.
Let us never forget to pray. God lives. He is near. He is real. He is not only aware of us, but cares for us. He is our father. And He can be found by all who will seek him.
We must continue to regard Aso Rock Villa properly as our nation’s centre of Power and Authority, and not the devil’s playground. It is our spiritual duty to sanctify and declare it the city of God, where only the will of God shall always prevail.
Calamities will not occur here again or anywhere near our leaders in all areas of government and society, in Jesus glorious name.
Let me again appeal to all Nigerians to show love to one another and continually preach the gospel of love. This is because in an atmosphere of love, there will be peace and progress. As stated in Corinthians Chapter 13, “where there is love, everything is possible”. We must pursue love to where the enemies of love will be defeated.
Let me place on record, my special thanks to the Christian family in Nigeria.
Even while I was away, I received daily reports of the passionate intercessions of this family. While some were fasting, others were observing night vigils.
According to Mother Theresa, Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at his disposition and listening to His Voice in the depth of our hearts. As we pray let us listen and do what He wants us to do.
My fathers in the Lord, brothers and sisters, thank you all, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, for your spiritual support and labour of love.
My special thanks also go to the Muslim Ummah of our nation. I was duly informed of your constant prayer and concern during this challenging period. Let me assure you that I equally felt your impact. Please accept my sincere gratitude.
Mr. President, fellow Nigerians, you will recall that I declared upon my arrival in the country on Wednesday, the 17th of October 2012, that I have come with fresh determination to rededicate myself to the service of God, the Nigerian woman, youths, children, the less privileged, the vulnerable, the poor and the disadvantaged.
I therefore offer myself, not as your First Lady, but as your friend, sister, mother and daughter, so that together we can build and enjoy a nation of peace and prosperity.
Permit me, ladies and gentlemen, at this point, to specially thank members of my family for their love and care.
My beloved husband and soulmate, His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was particularly wonderful. Again, he showed that he is not only my pillar of support, but also my best friend indeed.
My beloved husband you gave me the reason to live, you gave me the opportunity to love you and our children, God willing, we
I wish to place on record, my gratitude to my mother-in-law, who abandoned her own bed and continued to sleep by my bedside while I was ill and until I travelled.
I am equally indebted to my mother (Mama Sisi), brothers and sisters, whose commitment to my well being is still being applauded.
And of course my very dear children, Faith, Aruabai, but with special reference to my son, Ariwera, also known as Abobo, who is constantly by my side, and pays special attention to my progress.
Special thanks also go to the Vice President, His Excellency, Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo and his amiable wife, Her Excellency, Hajia Amina Namadi Sambo for their moral and spiritual support.
Let me also express my special gratitude to the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark and his wife, Helen, my good friend, who were always in touch with my husband and I, showing their care and concern. In the effort to ensure they got in touch with me, Senator David Mark sent his wife to see me several times without relenting, until she was able to see me.
Similarly, I will like to thank the Executive Governors especially my husband, Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson. They were with me all the way.
I remember with love and gratitude, my friends who remained on their feet all the while, and who also ensured that my return was a glorious affair.
Let me at this point mention that many of my friends and associates made several efforts to visit me but were not able to, in which case, Germany would have been overwhelmed by their presence.
I make special mention of my sister and friend, Hajia Bola Shagaya who coordinated my return.
Furthermore, my heartfelt gratitude goes to the Governors, my several friends and associates who contributed both financially and otherwise to the success of this thanksgiving we are doing here today.
You gave deeply from yourselves. You humbled me. You have been the very best I could have imagined and your commitment to my success is unequal, may God bless and reward you accordingly.
May I at this point perform the moral duty of paying special regards to those who totally sacrificed their convenience for my well being during this period.
First of all, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart to Dr. Solomon Livingstone, a Nigerian Doctor based in the U.K, who frequently went beyond the call of medical duty to provide care for me.
I must not fail to thank my entire staff for their loyalty, support and prayers.
Particularly, I wish to acknowledge with emotional gratitude, the commitment of those of my staff who traveled with me especially Dr. Elizabeth, Yemisi, Abigail and Esther.
In the words of Dick Eastman, and I quote: “I want to say only those who see the invisible can attempt the impossible”. The knowledge of your sacrifice will keep me forever grateful to God.
I still have not found the words to express the level of spiritual and physical labour of these ladies.
Until this development, I had thought you were just my staff. But now, I know that, in truth and indeed, you are faithful children of whom I will always be very proud.
I pray that the Lord will deal kindly with you all. He will comfort you on every side, and fill your lives with his peace and joy. May He do for you what no man can do.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Thanksgiving Planning Committee, chaired by Mr. John Kennedy Okpara, the Executive Secretary of the National Christian Pilgrims Commission, for the dedication and diligence with which they organized this event. Particular thanks also to Pastor Mshelia Abba of the Aso Villa Chapel. The success of the Thanksgiving has obviously justified your hard work.
Permit also to say thank you to the entire Aso Villa Chapel congregation, under the leadership of the Chaplain, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba. I give Jesus praise that your moral support and spiritual activity were not in vain.
To Mr. President, and indeed all Nigerians, I say thank you once again, first for your love and support, and also for sharing this glorious night of Praise and Thanksgiving with me.
Finally, I call on each and every one of us to embrace as a personal duty and a matter of joy, the possibility of a greater Nigeria which is ahead of us.
Thank you for your attention.
God bless Nigeria.