Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged politicians to see politics as a means of developing the people and not as warfare.
Jonathan spoke yesterday at the Ecumenical Centre in Igbogene, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, during the first-anniversary thanksgiving of the Governor Douye Diri administration.
Thanksgiving was also used to celebrate February 13, 2020, Supreme Court judgment that ushered in Diri as governor.
Others at the thanksgiving were Dame Patience Jonathan, Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Uche Secondus, among others.
The former president stressed that at the end of every political contest, politicians should sheathe their swords and work with the winner.
He praised Diri for his non-discriminatory style of politics, which ‘had seen him embrace everybody regardless of their political leanings’.
Jonathan also called for support from the people to enable the Diri administration to succeed.
He said: “Those of us in politics should learn to play politics as politics and not as a war. At the end of the process, let us come together and support the winner.
“I thank our governor for opening his mind to accept everybody irrespective of the political divide, and I urge him to do more.”
Diri thanked God for the miracle that brought him to office, saying he would forever remain grateful and committed to the service of the state.
The governor also thanked the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court Justices, for their courage in delivering such a landmark judgment. Diri said the Justices proved that the judiciary remained the last hope of the common man.
He also thanked those who stood by him after the election and before the court ruling, especially Senator Seriake Dickson, Emmanuel and Makinde. According to him, they allowed God to use them to make his dream a reality.
The governor urged the people to always exude love and embrace one another irrespective of party affiliations, stressing that the development of the state was bigger than any group or individual consideration.
He said: “They say the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. For us, the judiciary was our last hope. We thank all those who contributed one way or another toward ensuring our victory.
“I again urge Bayelsans not to see those in the opposition as enemies. Today they are there but tomorrow they might be here. As I speak, many of our brothers in the All Progressives Congress (APC) are returning to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo recalled that their hope was dashed but God served them to victory. He said they are grateful to God and the people for their solidarity during the difficult moments that led to the court victory.
In their goodwill messages, Governors Makinde, Emmanuel and Mohammed, and Secondus hailed Diri for his strides in office. They were confident he would transform the state, and urged Bayelsans to support him.
Pastor Lazarus Mouka of The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement delivered a sermon ‘It is the Lord’s Doing’. He described Diri’s emergence as divine.
According to him, there were limitations with man, but with God, all things were possible. He urged the people to turn to God for salvation.
The cleric hailed the governor and people for the attitude of thanksgiving and prayed to God to enable Diri to fulfil his purpose for the state.