Former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has opined that Nigeria is where it is today because of leadership of family and friends, acquaintances rather than ability and capability to deliver.
The former President who was speaking at the Palace of the Emir of Bauchi, on Tuesday, during a one-day working visit said that the tradition in Nigeria is that before one can be appointed to an office or given a responsibility, he must know someone at the top a development he said has taken the country backwards.
Jonathan who was reacting to introductory comments made by Bauchi State Governor, Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, said: “Yes, I did not know him when I met him and made him the FCT Minister. In Nigeria, we have this tradition where some people feel that some Ministries are big and juicy and must be given to a special person or that you have to know someone before you give him a responsibility role or put him somewhere. It is not like that with me, it is not my way of doing things.
“Today is a happy day for me because since I left office, this is the first time I am coming to Bauchi, first let me use this rare opportunity that I am before the Emir of Bauchi to thank the people of Bauchi for supporting my dear son, you have done very well to support him. It would have been difficult for him to win the election without your support.”
He stressed that, “Bala Mohammed is a good younger brother, he is a good son, even when he was the FCT Minister, he worked with commitment and I gave him a free hand to run the affairs of the FCT. I’ve come to visit him and to commission a project and a road that was even named after me.”
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Speaking to the Emir, he said: “I want you to join my family and friends to thank your own son and your subject for immortalising, by naming that road after me. When a road or infrastructure is named after you, it is something you cannot but value because even if you die, people will get to know that there was such a person.”
He added that: “Within this period that he has been Governor, I have been asking questions and I learnt that he has done quite a number of projects that people wonder where the money comes from. Before coming, I tried to get a list of some of the key projects he has done and when I looked through, I was marvelled because these days that the economic environment is not that friendly, it’s not easy for a governor to raise money to do such infrastructural projects.
“I have to thank Bala Mohammed, the Governor of the state, the Deputy Governor and his cabinet and others who are working day and night to keep the flag of the state flying, and the citizens of this state for cooperating and working with them. No matter how a governor is committed, if the citizens create a hostile environment for you, you cannot succeed because whatever you are doing, is for the people not for yourself. So if the people you want to do these things for are hostile and not receptive, you cannot go anywhere.
“The information before me is that the citizens, traditional institutions are working with Bala Mohammed as the governor of the state. He is a nice and calm person, someone who has acquired a reasonable experience and somebody we’re looking up to as the official leader of this country,” he concluded.
Earlier while introducing the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to the Emir of Bauchi, State Governor, Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, said: “Your Highness, I am the happiest man today standing here, today history is been made. Somebody who is instrumental in my coming to the limelight in Nigeria is here with you.
“He came from Yenogoa in Bayelsa State, somebody I don’t have anything in common with other than the stake of nationalism and Nigerianess. He made me the Minister of the FCT without knowing me or belonging to the same political party, he has really impacted so much, he gave me responsibility and by so doing he has proven that he is a detribalised Nigerian.”
“The way and manner he left government and created impression globally in terms of democracy made me proud that I have a father and a mentor who is the face of democracy in Africa. Today, he is coming to our house, this house that we all respect in Bauchi and in the whole country. This is the house of the Areonakakanfo of the North.”
In his remarks, the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu. on behalf of the Traditional Council, commended the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for making Bauchi his home saying that, “this is the fourth time you are visiting this Palace officially, we in Bauchi State are proud of you.”
The Emir also commended Goodluck Jonathan for giving Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir the opportunity to serve as the FCT Minister even when he knew little or nothing about him saying that, it has gone to demonstrate that he (Jonathan) is detribalised Nigerian.
The Emir further said that PHCs and other health facilities have been renovated to boost healthcare services in the state while over 2000 housing units are presently being constructed across the state.