He recalled yesterday that since 1999 when he became Bayelsa State deputy governor, Nigerians had given him the opportunity to serve as Vice President and President of the country.
The President however remarked that the 16 years were kind of cagey as government has taken care of all his needs.
He spoke at the State House when some Abuja residents led by Vice President Namadi Sambo paid him Easter homage, stressing that he had had enough and would love to go home and rest.
President Jonathan said: “For me as an individual, this Easter coincides with the time I am leaving but I always say that I am one of the luckiest Nigerians. I am yet to see somebody luckier than me.
“From 1999, I was in the hands of government for 16 years. Not just in government as a parliamentarian because if you are a Senator or House of Representatives member, you take care of yourself, you live in your own house.
“I was in a cage, being taken care of by Government. From May 29, 1999 till date; 16 good years, I think it is enough and I am happy; help me to thank God for that.
“I will continue to thank Nigerians for giving me that privilege. I became deputy governor because Bayelsans voted for me and my governor then. I became a Vice President because Nigerians voted for Yar’Adua and myself. I continued in 2011 because Nigerians voted for me and Architect Namadi Sambo. I have to thank all Nigerians. Wherever I will be, I will remain grateful to this great country. Today is a glorious day for me,” he stated.
The President urged Nigerians to be ready to make sacrifices for the survival of the government irrespective of who is the President at any given time.
He said even since his days as deputy governor in his home state, he kept telling people that what he needed from them was patriotism and not loyalty, adding that nation-building depends on sacrifice and patriotism.
He cited the examples of soldiers and policemen who he said were dying daily in their fight against Boko Haram in order for others to live.
Vice President Sambo thanked the President for his efforts, adding that he had become a better person after working with him for five years.
Also present at the occasion were the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Sen Bala Mohammed, Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, Senator Philip Aduda and Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Muktar Shagari.
Kinsmen plan grand reception for President
Meanwhile, Bayelsa Development Forum, BDF yesterday said it would host President Jonathan to a heroic home-coming reception as he prepares leave the State House.
In a statement issued by the group’s Secretary-General, Chief Ebimo Anderson, he said BDF had sent a letter to the Bayelsa State government to intimate it of its plan to host the welcome reception for the President and to also request the support of the Seriake Dickson-led government for the event.
While applauding the Jonathan administration over its achievements in national cohesion and economic development, the group stated the President’s record of service to Nigeria would not easily be forgotten.
“As Ijaw and proud Bayelsans, even though, we are deeply pained by the loss of our son at the polls, we are grateful to God and Nigerians for entrusting one of our own with the responsibility of leading this great nation at a time, when it was thought impossible that a minority from the South-South will hold the highest office in the land.
“We are indeed glad that President Jonathan did not disappoint us as a nation by his sterling leadership and in the process made history,” it stated.