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Jonathan warns political leaders against provocative statements

13 January 2014, 12:26

Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday admonished political leaders, especially elder statesmen, against making provocative statements that could set the nation on fire.

The president gave the admonition in Abuja, while speaking at the Inter-Denominational Church Service held as part of the 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

Jonathan described as worrisome and embarrassing the provocative statements from some elder statesmen.

He said that such statements, which could lead to blood shedding, arson and political destruction, should not be expected from such leaders.

"Sometimes, I get worried when I listen to provocative statements that come from very senior citizens. People that ordinarily you perceive are very senior citizens.

"People who are above 70 or 80 years, who have seen it all and who ordinarily, should know that the unity of this country is more important than any individual.

"I have said it times without number that any ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian

"I will never ever expect a Nigerian to spill a drop of his blood because Goodluck Jonathan must fulfill his ambition.

"Sometimes, they preach hatred and even encourage young people to carry arms and kill themselves; then, there will be no nation to rule over if we all kill ourselves," he said.

Jonathan, however, said that if Nigerians were united, the challenges facing the country’s security and development would be resolved.

He noted that the celebration of the 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day was unique because it coincided with Nigeria’s centenary celebration.

He said that the armed forces particularly paid more dearly for the nation’s unity in the last 100 years.

Jonathan stressed that many soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice, while many were wounded and left with indelible scars in the course of keeping the nation together.

The president, however, commended the Church and the men of God, in particular, for their consistent prayers of intercession for the nation in times of challenges and troubles.

He urged them not to relent in their prayers, particularly as the country was moving toward the elections year.

Earlier, the Most Reverend Job Oche, the Archbishop of Methodist Church, hailed the contributions of the military to Nigeria’s security and territorial integrity as well as global peacekeeping efforts.

He urged all Nigerians, irrespective of their endeavours, to contribute their quotas to the country’s development.

Oche, however, admonished some politicians for heating up the polity because of the wrestle for power in the forthcoming 2015 elections.

Quoting Biblical verses from the Book of Daniel, he stressed that "God owns power and chooses leaders", adding that politicians should, therefore, desist from seeking political power with coercion.

Oche said that politicians should worry less about tomorrow and they should allow tomorrow to take care of itself.

"Leave 2015 alone, it will take care of itself. We must stop destroying one another because of selfish ambition; Nigerians cannot be forced to vote," he said.

The archbishop, however, cautioned political leaders to refrain from making provocative utterances which could destroy the nation.

Besides, Oche said that churches were guilty of "camping and decamping", adding that a lot of mushroom churches were consequently springing up at every corner in the country.

He said that there were about 315 registered Christian denominations across the nation, adding that in spite of the preponderance of churches, people were still yearning to open more churches

Oche urged the government to intensify efforts to stamp out terrorism, kidnapping and other societal ills in the nation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the dignitaries at the church service are Senate President David Mark, Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Tony Anenih, Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees.

Others include the president's mother, Madam Eunice Jonathan, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Oghiadome.

Ministers, service chiefs, members of the diplomatic corps, captains of industry, widows, widowers and children of the fallen heroes and members of the Nigerian Legion also attended the service.

-  NAN


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