Ahead of 2015 general election, the Minister of Information and supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku, Sunday in Abuja said President Goodluck Jonathan has the personal and constitutional right to contest the 2015 presidential election.
He explained that the fact that Jonathan's performance was above any other Nigerian leader in recent history, compels the president to join the race for the exalted office for a second term.
The minister stated this at the pre-centenary celebration of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, ahead of 100 years of the church in the country.
According to Maku, "People say why should the president contest election in 2015, the president contesting the 2015 election is his personal decision to make, he has the constitutional right to contest election if he chooses to do so, all we need to do is to pray that elections are free and fair and that whoever contests with the president have a fair chance. That is what democracy is all about."
"If you say that a man that has done so well like Jonathan should not contest? You have a right to vote for a person or not to vote for him. All the heating of the polity going on now has nothing to do with development. It is individual ambition that is playing out but God who decides the fate of men will decide. What is important is for us to work hard for the country. We are not ready yet to leave our work, we want to work for Nigeria. Sometimes if you listen to politicians like us who want to stand the next election, you will think that nothing is going on in the country but a lot of projects are going on now."
On performance, Maku stated that "Nigeria has not grown faster under any other government since Gowon than President Goodluck Jonathan. It is very rare to have a government that has confronted insecurity all over and still has been keeping the economy growing at seven per cent per annum for the past three years. It has never happened since Gowon left government. The president is addressing the challenges of power supply. Don't listen to doom sayers who are going about causing confusion."
While urging the church to assist government and reorient the masses to be persons of good behavior, the minister stressed that "nations are held together not just by the army but by the Lord Almighty, the unity of Nigeria, the constitution, the political institutions, and social institutions are very important in the greatness of a nation but all these will not work if God is not present. God must stand first before you can find solutions to the problems of any human society."
"The church has contributed to the growth of education and other social services in the country. Our country has faced numerous challenges in the past 100 years but God has helped the country overcome the challenges. It is only people who lack faith that gets frightened when faced with problems, they predict that the country will collapse, that is people of insufficient faith, but for people of faith, when they face problems, they believe that God is beginning to look for opportunity to glorify his name. God uses crisis and problems to glorify his name for those who have faith. If you look into what is happening in the country today, like the challenges in some part of the country, Nigeria is also growing." Archbishop of the church and leader of the church in Nigeria, Most Rev. Nemel Babba, urged the Federal Government to expedite action in returning all educational and health institutions previously owned by the church back to her.
He reiterated the commitment of the church in fostering peaceful co-existence among other religions in the country, assuring that the church will also continue to contribute its quota in providing skill acquisition programs for the unemployed.
Earlier, Bishop of Abuja, Rev. Benjamin Fuduta, while making his opening remarks observed that the church has continued to grow beyond bounds, where it has supported the course of evangelism, education and empowerment across the country.
The Lutheran Church was introduced into Nigeria by Dr. Niels Bronnum, a Scottish missionary and first started its operation on 5th October, 2015 in northern Nigeria. Today, the church has 2.7 million Nigerian worshipers across the country. Its global headquarters is based in Geneva, Switzerland.