Jonathan Boycotts 2016 Thanksgiving Service In Villa

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan canceled his schedule to worship at the presidential villa in Abuja on Sunday, December 4.

This was disclosed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the annual end of the year thanksgiving service.

The service, which took place at the Aso Rock Chapel, was attended by former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Yakubu Gowon, former head of state; and Ernest Shonekan, a one-time interim president.

Also in attendance were former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, Oladipo Diya, and Ebitu Ukiwe, ex-Chiefs of general staff.

Osinbajo said: “Today is a special thanksgiving for the end of the year and as you have seen, all the former presidents and vice-presidents are here for the special thanksgiving service.

“They have been specially invited to come, we also expected President Jonathan, but unfortunately, he had to cancel at the last moment.

“So we are all extremely excited that we have been able to bring everyone together to thank God for our nation and to give Him thanks for the great future ahead of us.”

Speaking at the service, senior special assistant to the president on national assembly matters, Ita Enang, thanked the vice-president and the organisers of the service for bringing the past and present leaders together.

He said the event was specifically to thank God for helping the country steer the economy.

Earlier during the service, Gowon who said he was attending service at the chapel for the first time, confirmed that Osinbajo personally contacted him to attend the service.

He said even when he told the Vice-President that he would be engaged outside the country at the time, Osinbajo offered to facilitate his (Gowon’s) movement to the venue.

The former military leader urged Christians to love every Nigerian in spite of their faith.

“Our neighbours are Christians, Muslims, traditional religions etcetera. Whatever we do, we make sure that we live up to the expectation of what Christ expects from us,’’ he said.

Gowon prayed for President Muhammadu Buhari, Osinbajo, the entire Presidency and Nigerians that God should guide the leadership to administer the country according to His will.

Obasanjo had earlier taken the first lesson of the service from Luke 17: 11-19.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, disclosed that the 2017 budget would soon be presented to the National Assembly.

He described the performance of the 2016 budget as good.

“Their appraisal during their oversight showed that the implementation was according to the plan as set out by Mr. President and the leadership of this country.

“I believe it is going to be a lot much better this year and at the end of it,” he said.

The Sunday visit was the first time Obasanjo would be visiting the Presidential Villa since he publicly criticised the Buhari administration recently, saying the President was elected to clear the mess he inherited and not to shift blame.

The former leaders however did not meet with Buhari during their visit.

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