When President Goodluck Jonathan decided to allow the just concluded general election to go on to its logical conclusion without interference, he feared his wife, Dame Patience, might divorce him.
Speaking on Sunday at a thanksgiving and farewell service in his honour at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life-Camp, Gwarinpa, Abuja, the president cited the case of the former South African Apartheid leader, F.W de Klerk, whose wife divorced him for bringing an end to minority rule in the former Apartheid enclave.
President Jonathan, who also expressed appreciation to Nigerians for giving him the opportunity to serve at various capacities, reiterated his willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice in the interest of the Nation.
He said: “I believe there are reasons for everything. Some hard decisions have their own cost. That I have ran the government this way that stabilized certain things, the electoral process and other things that brought stability into this country. They were very costly decisions which I must be ready to pay for.
“Some people come to me and say this or that person, is he not your friend? Is it not your government that this person benefited from? But this is what the person is saying. But I used to say, worse statements will come. If you take certain decisions, you should know that those close to you will even abandon you at some point. And I tell them that more of my so-called friends will disappear. When F.W de Klerk took the decision to abolish minority rule in RSA, even his wife divorced him. I hope my wife will not divorce me. But that is the only decision that has made RSA to still remain a global player. If we still had minority rule there, by this time, nobody will be talking about RSA.
“If you take certain decisions, it might be good for the generality of the people but it might affect people differently. So for ministers and aides who served with me, I sympathize with them, they will be persecuted. And they must be ready for that persecution”, he said.
While expressing appreciation to God for what he has done for him and his family, the outgoing president said he had all the reason to thank God.
“Very few of those in my age brackets have been that lucky. All through my education were on government scholarships. I have not suffered lack, not because I’m hard-working but by God’s grace.
“When I look at the whole picture of my life up to when I became the president of this country. I say that if soldiers and police officers that have not received 0.5 per cent of the benefits that I have received from the state can lay their lives for this country, I should do anything in the interest of Nigeria including paying the supreme price.
“As long as live, I will continue to do my best for the state because the state has helped me as a person.
“I have to thank Nigerians especially, my state for giving me the opportunity to serve as deputy governor, and the whole country gave me the opportunity to serve as Vice President and then President, first was to complete the tenure of the late president and later serve as president from which I am exiting now as a very happy and fulfilled man”.
Speaking on his decision to concede defeat, which he said did not go down well with some of his ministers and associates, President Jonathan noted that the most important thing is that “the ordinary people appreciate what we did”.