By Abdullahi M. Gulloma
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday left Abuja for a brief private visit to the United Kingdom, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said in a statement in Abuja.
Abati said the president, who is expected back in Abuja today, was accompanied on the trip by some of his principal staff and personal aides.
Jonathan’s trip came on the heels of his assurances that Nigeria will survive the current security challenges and oil price slump on the international market.
Speaking yesterday before his departure at a special service at the Christ Apostolic Church, he said the country had a similar fall in the pump price of oil around 2008, but survived, stressing that the economic team was working on the situation.
He also assured Nigerians that the current security challenges would not endure, adding that despite all predictions, “Nigeria will survive the tension that is often associated with election years.
He said: “We are facing a lot of challenges now as a nation. The pastor has said it all. The challenges did not start today, but somehow, instead of abating, the problems started increasing for one reason or the other.
“I am convinced that it would have been worse than this, but for your prayers. With the prayers you continue to offer to God, God will see us through.
“I always say that whenever I read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, particularly the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land, the kind of challenges they faced, the confrontation, the wars up to the days of King David, people were always fighting and you will ask why children of God will continue to be fighting.
“I believe what is even happening to us is not even as serious as sometimes the passages we read in the Bible and God was able to see them through. The God we believe will see us through. What I will request from you is to continue to pray for us. For me and members of my team, in spite of the challenges, we will continue to do our best.”
On the 2015 elections, the president said: “Next year is a tempting year for us. Election year in third world countries is always a turbulent year with all kinds of predictions. I however believe that the God who brought us to this level will see us through. All that I will request of you is to continue to pray for us politicians, myself and other politicians from all political parties, for God to guide us in our utterances and what we do so that we will not sacrifice the lives of Nigerians because of our ambitions.
“Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. Pray to God to give us that wisdom and mind to make sure we conduct ourselves in a way that will not set the country ablaze because of our own personal ambition.
“There are so many good Nigerians that can hold the offices we are occupying or aspiring to occupy; it is by privilege of God that we are here in positions to ask for the mandate of Nigerians.
“None of us should begin to think that he is the best person to be anywhere from state houses of assembly to the president. There are a thousand and one Nigerians that are super-qualified more than those people who are even aspiring to occupy offices. Pray for us that God should give us the wisdom to conduct ourselves in a manner that at the end of the day, this country will triumph.
“The development of Nigeria is what all of us want. If every aspirant has the mind to develop the people, then you do not need to kill or maim people to get there.
“You do not need to kill the people you want to develop in order to get to the office you want except if you are aspiring for that office for a different reason. If the idea is to help the people, grow the economy and make the people happy, you won’t want to kill, you won’t want to maim or burn down houses, vehicles and property.”