Premium Times (Abuja)

19 January 2014

Nigeria: Most of Us Joined Politics for Lack of Work - Jonathan

Photo: Amanda Voisard/UN
President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan said Sunday that about half of Nigerian politicians were not meant to be in politics, but only turned politicians as they had no choice.

The president was speaking at the Aso Rock Villa Chapel, in response to a sermon by the Primate of the Anglican Church, Nicholas Okoh, during the post-pilgrimage thanksgiving tagged "What Shall I Render To God."

The clergy in his sermon accused politicians of being unforgiving.

Mr. Jonathan, in his remarks noted that this was however not the case as politicians were ordinarily very forgiving as they may later find themselves working together with people who had earlier wronged them.

"The chaplain accused us politicians that we do not forgive, or that some politicians don't forgive. Apparently the Bible said this, but politicians are the people who forgive," the president said.

"Politicians are those who forgive because in politics, whether local politics or national, you don't have permanent friends or permanent enemies but permanent interests.

"If somebody is your enemy today and there is a change of interest and A becomes your friend, first of all, you have to forgive otherwise you cannot have a friend that you cannot work with.

"But politics is just like some kind of trade. More than 50 per cent of us who are into politics are not supposed to be politicians.

"For example, in the profession of nursing and teaching, people with wicked hearts and unforgiving spirit are not the kind of people who should be nurses or teachers, but we find them there.

"So, most of us who are in politics are not supposed to be there but because we have no other thing to do. So, if you see a politician than cannot forgive, he is an impostor," the president said.

The clergy had also during his sermon commended the president for doing the right thing by signing the anti-gay bill into law despite the obvious pressure from "outside."

The anti-gay law prescribes various punishments as well jail term for homosexual acts. It has been widely criticised by western countries but many Nigerians support the law.

Urging Christians to partake in the annual pilgrimage, Archbishop Okoh noted that Nigeria was also on a pilgrimage to reach its place in the League of Nations where it is supposed to be.

To reach its purpose, the Primate said Nigeria needs amongst others: Patience, Perseverance, Cohesion, Discipline and focus.

On the centenary, he noted that as the country celebrates its centenary it is a time for all Nigerians to examine their personal contribution to the nation in the last 100 years.

On the national dialogue, Archbishop Okoh noted that this was a divine gift and opportunity to fine-tune the polity. He also urged all those who will partake, to do so "not for selfish reasons but to speak for their people."

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