Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday worshipped with ex-President Goodluck Jonathan at St. Stephen Anglican Church, Otuoke Diocese, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The church service, which was carnival-like, had in attendance Governor Seriake Dickson; his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd.); Jonathan’s wife, Patience; former Military Governor of old Rivers State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, top officials of Bayelsa State Government and many other prominent personalities.
Speaking to the congregation, Obasanjo, who has been in Bayelsa for the past three days where he inaugurated some projects carried out by Dickson’s administration, said there could never be peace in Nigeria without reconciliation and oneness.
Addressing the Vicar of the church, Rt. Rev. James Oruwari, and the audience, Obasanjo said, “What touched me most in this short gathering is the children coming forward and singing the welcome song and dressing in the attire of different cultures, different tribes and different linguistic groups in Nigeria.
“And for me, that underpins the homily you (Rev. Oruwari) gave to us — reconciliation.
“Unless we preach, we teach, and practise reconciliation, we will not have peace.
“And unless we have peace, we will not have development; and unless we have development, we will not have growth; and if we do not have growth, we will not come out of poverty.
“Even if some of us are exceptionally lucky and they are able to get out, the majority of us will be ridden in poverty and that is not what God has ordained for this country.
“What God has ordained for this country is for this country to be a land flowing with milk and honey; a land of plenty and a land of prosperity.”
He said it was a privilege to worship in the church, particularly with Jonathan, whom he described as “my brother, my colleague and my friend.”
Also speaking, former President Goodluck Jonathan thanked Obasanjo for his visit and for worshipping with him in the church in his hometown.
Jonathan preached the unity and oneness of Nigeria, condemning some messages, particularly in the social media, portraying the country as if it was sitting on a keg of gunpowder that could explode one day.
He stated, “It is a unique opportunity. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo promised that he was going to visit my village when I visited his hometown after leaving office. But I did not know it was going to come at this time.
“But we have to thank Governor Seriake Dickson because Obasanjo was to come here only once. The Governor insisted that immediately he comes in, Obasanjo would come and see us, and that before he leaves, he will also worship with us.”
On his part, Dickson thanked Obasanjo for coming to the state to inaugurate some projects completed by his administration.
He harped on the significance of peace in the country, saying that without peace, no meaningful progress could be attained.