Today, the former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Azikwe Jonathan, turned 58 and has been receiving loads of birthday greetings on social media especially on Facebook and Twitter.
Baby Jonathan was on that fateful Wednesday of November 20, 1957, born into the family of Mr. Lawrence Jonathan, in Otueke, a predominantly fishing community, presently in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. His mother is Mrs Eunice.
He rose from what he (Jonathan) has always described as a journey from ‘grass to grace,’ the son of canoe makers, rose from a Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State to becoming Nigeria’s President, the highest office in the country.
Jonathan, however, lost his re-election bid to Muhammadu Buhari after having served first as vice president to late Umaru Yar’Adua and as president for six years.
He is married to Dame Patience and they are blessed with children.
As he celebrates his 58th birthday today, here are 58 of his memorable quotes.
1. In my early days in school, I had no shoes, no school bags. I carried my books in my hands but never despaired; no car to take me to school, but I never despaired. There were days I had only one meal but I never despaired. I walked miles and crossed rivers to school every day, but I never despaired. Didn’t have power, didn’t have generators, studied with lanterns, but I never despaired. In spite of these, I finished secondary school attended the University of Port Harcourt and now hold a doctorate degree.
2. Our dear nation, Nigeria, has certainly come a long way and made notable progress since our first Democracy Day on May 29, 1999 when the military finally relinquished power and handed over to a democratically-elected government, marking the true beginning of a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
3. One thing that I know and I feel Nigerians will celebrate is continuity and peace.
4. My brothers and sisters, we are all winners. In this context there is no victor and no vanquished. We have demonstrated, even in our diversity, the progress of Nigeria remains paramount for all.
5. I’m not interested in 2015, because you and I do not know whether we will reach 2015. The truth is, 2015 is really not my business and it is politically irresponsible for people to be talking about 2015.
6. So any President, whether it is Goodluck Jonathan or any other person, as long as you still have the opportunity to contest or not to contest, if you declare it too early, you create more problems in the system. If you say you are contesting, it creates more problems. So don’t force a President to declare his interest. It is not right.
7. Before the PDP administration, even directors in ministries had no phones! As Assistant Director, I had no phone. But with the PDP administration, now my mother has a phone.
8. Furthermore, under this administration, we have made consistent progress in improving the standard of elections in our country to ensure that they are ever more credible and truly representative of the people’s free choice.
9. Why should a lecturer in a state- owned university go on strike if Mr. President has done something wrong? The state universities are owned by the states.
10. Boko Haram is not as a result of misrule; definitely not. Sometimes people say it is as a result of poverty; definitely not. Boko Haram is a local terror group.
11. Boko Haram didn’t start in the last three years. Sometimes people talk about Boko Haram as if Jonathan is the cause of Boko Haram. I was the Vice President when Yusuf was killed, the so called founder of Boko Haram. And he was there before 2009. But it was not handled properly at the beginning. They allowed it to grow into a cancer and become terrible like crude oil stealing. But I assure Nigerians that we will bring it under control. It is a major challenge, but we are working day and night to overcome it.
12. There can be no doubt that what we are witnessing in Nigeria today is a manifestation of the same warped and ferocious world view that brought down the Twin Towers in New York, killed innocent persons in Boston and led to the murder of defenceless people in the Southern Russian city of Volgograd.
13. No matter what it takes, we will win this war against terror.
14. The war against terror may be difficult, but the days of peace will come again. Terror is evil; nowhere in history has evil endured forever.
15. Terrorism is not a phenomenon a six months or one year State of Emergency can solve.
16. We have a duty to stand firm against those who threaten the sovereign integrity of the Nigerian state.
17. Nigeria is the only country we have and we must all work to preserve it for present and future generations.
18. Nigerians are peace-loving people; these sad events perpetrated by those who do not wish our nation well have not changed the essential character of our people.
19. Yes, we have challenges but we will surely overcome. Nigeria is our country. Nigeria is blessed. We will all collectively protect, defend and develop this country for ourselves, and our children.
20. Over 70% of what are called corruption (cases), even by EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) and other anti-corruption agencies, is not corruption, but common stealing.
21. Don’t misquote me. I am not saying we don’t have issues of corruption but that is not our number one problem.
22. Sometimes people take common stealing as corruption. A thief is a thief. When you steal money you are a thief.
23. Those quoting me as saying that ‘stealing is not corruption’ have not said that the President said stealing is good. Thieves should be treated as thieves. Do not use the word ‘corruption’ to cover so many things.
24. My political ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
25. Nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.
26. No matter your political interest, you must place your country first. You must show some kind of patriotism.
27. I have no enemies to fight. You are all my friends and we share a common destiny.
28. Where there is no opportunity for one man one vote, there will be no accountability and no responsibility.
29. Our votes must count! One man, one vote! One woman, one vote! One youth, one vote
30. Democracy is a journey that every nation mindful of advancing the liberty of its citizens must undertake.
31. Any society or country that closes the vital valves of its democratic space cannot develop at a reasonable pace.
32. Democracy calls for sacrifice and tolerance, an open ear and a strong voice.
33. We must develop a democratic culture in which the will of the people will be treated as sacred and be immune to subversion by anti-democratic elements.
34. It is the supreme task of this generation to give hope to the hopeless strength to the weak and protection to the defenseless.
35. The beauty of democracy is that its practice is never final and always has room for improvement no matter how old a democratic society may be.
36. As we strive to advance our democratic development, there will be times when our will shall be tested, our patience provoked and our belief questioned.
37. Nobody should rig for me. I am assuring Nigerians that though I am contesting, nobody must manipulate votes in my favour. Our votes must count.
38. You have trusted me with your mandate, and I will never, never let you down.
39. On the football field, nobody cares who scores for Nigeria.
40. For the PDP family, the contest for party offices does not produce winners and losers.
41. I believe in the politics of give and take.
42. Election is like any tournament, FIFA says March, later say April or May. The winning team will still win. No big deal.
43. The dark patches in the Niger Delta will give way to light.
44. I don’t need to be a lion. I don’t need to operate like the pharaoh of Egypt, I don’t need to be an army general, but I can change this country without those traits.
45. I am not God, but I am more hopeful now than before in terms of combing the whole areas. We are working with our neighbours and we will comb the whole of that area. Just give us some time.
46. It is the supreme task of this generation to give hope to the hopeless, strength to the weak and protection to the defenseless.
47. Africa must turn its begging bowls into baskets of prosperity and opportunity.
48. For you to fix the world, you must fix Africa. For you to fix Africa, you must fix Nigeria.
49. Where we falter we must not fall. When we are weak, we must not surrender.
50. Crude oil stealing is not done by poor people. Because, you need a vessel to lift the oil across the ocean to go and sell. And if you are to sell a stolen product abroad, you also need some connections because the refineries abroad don’t take crude oil from just anybody.
51. Politicians are instigating some young people to act in ways not expected.
52. It is quite unfortunate that there is a lot of wrong information in the system, especially in the social media & normal media.
53. I don’t have the time for social media.
54. We must not put money where people can take it, like we did with in agriculture with fertilizer.
55. Separation of power is not separation of government.
56. Our founding fathers did not dream of a country where neighbors and friends would exchange bullets in place of handshakes.
57. I have come to launch a campaign of ideas, not one of calumny. I have to come to preach love, not hate. I have come to break you away from divisive tendencies of the past which have slowed our drive to true nationhood. I have no enemies to fight. You are all my friends and we share a common destiny.
58. Cynicism and skepticism will not help our journey to greatness. Let us believe in a new Nigeria.
Culled from Naij…