Former President Goodluck Jonathan arrived Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Friday afternoon to a rousing welcome.
Overwhelmed by the large turnout of people, Jonathan was moved to tears and declared: “After six years in Abuja, I thought Bayelsa people will curse and boo me for some decisions made and development not attracted to the state.”
Jonathan stated that he was short of words to express his feelings about the crowd that lined up the streets of Yenagoa to welcome him.
The former president who was accompanied by his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, among other dignitaries, said when he was about leaving Abuja for Bayelsa State, he thought that because of some wrong decisions and perceived thinking by the people that they were not satisfied with him.
Said Jonathan: “Because you are exposed to the decisions of high office and the thought that you may not have satisfied the people, sometimes you think they will curse or boo you. But instead, the people have decided to celebrate me.”
He acknowledged the role played by some political leaders in the state for his emergence as a politician and said sometimes he thought that if he had stayed in Bayelsa, he would have done better as a governor, “but I left to allow others grow politically.”
Jonathan announced that he would dedicate his life to peace building across the country.
He said: “Nigeria has given me so much and the only thing I can do with the rest of my life is to dedicate myself to peace building. We need peace and development. Political crisis don’t bring development. I believe the new administration will work with everybody. I am happy the new President said he does not belong to any clique.”
Earlier in his welcome speech, Governor Seriake Dickson said though he was moved by emotion while waiting to receive Jonathan due to the fact that such duty would be the last to a president from Bayelsa, “the people of the state are happy that the former President arrived the state safely.”
Dickson added: “We are grateful to the party and the political class for giving Jonathan the opportunity to serve and such service he did well. He is our celebrated leader and hero of democracy.
“And to those people who think Bayelsa and Ijaw Nation is down. Don’t laugh yet. We may be down and not out.”
The first military governor of old Rivers State and the Amananayabor of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, in his solidarity message said the people of the state should be thankful to God for the emergence of Jonathan.
“When you look at it, the great sage, late Obafemi Awolowo wished to be a president for one day, but Jonathan was President for more than 3,000 days.”