Fifty nine years ago, on November 20, former president Goodluck Jonathan was born to the family of Lawrence and Eunice Jonathan in Otuoke, Bayelsa state.
Though from a humble background, Jonathan has achieved a lot for himself, much more than some of his peers.
At a point, some Nigerians started naming their children Goodluck because they felt the former president’s name was bringing him so much luck.
It is has been over a year since he handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari. While some Nigerians want him back, others are blaming him the econ0omic recession the country is facing at the moment.
As he celebrates his 59th birthday, NAIJ.com brings you 59 of his memorable quotes.
1. While serving as President of Nigeria, I worked for the next generation and not for the next elections. I have no regrets for what I did.
2. Somebody must sacrifice and work for the next generation otherwise your children’s children will suffer the same predicaments as you have.
3. In my early days in school, I had no shoes, no school bags. I carried my books in my hands but never despaired; no car to take me to school, but I never despaired. There were days I had only one meal but I never despaired. I walked miles and crossed rivers to school every day, but I never despaired. Didn’t have power, didn’t have generators, studied with lanterns, but I never despaired. In spite of these, I finished secondary school attended the University of Port Harcourt and now hold a doctorate degree.
4. They said the National Security Adviser (Sambo Dasuki) stole $2.2billion. I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.2 billion.
5. Throughout my tenure in office, I ensured that education consistently had either the highest sectoral allocation or at least one of the highest because I was convinced then and remain convinced today that nations do not become great because of what is under their ground. Their greatness comes from what is between the ears of their citizens
6. On the issue of corruption, you are aware that several matters are pending in court and I would not like to intefere with the legal processes. We reformed the institutions and introduced various mechanisms to stop the corruption problems in our country without publicity.
7. When Nigeria’s economy became the largest economy on the African continent, it was and is because of our youths.
8. Under my watch not a single Nigerian was sent to prison because of anything they wrote or said about me or the Administration that I headed. No matter what my critic said about me, I ensured thet there was both freedom of speech and freedom after the speech.
9. Our dear nation, Nigeria, has certainly come a long way and made notable progress since our first Democracy Day on May 29, 1999 when the military finally relinquished power and handed over to a democratically-elected government, marking the true beginning of a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
10. As I have said and always say, we are all brothers and sisters birthed from the womb of one Nigeria.
11. The death of any Nigerian at the hands of terrorists is a sad reminder that the war on terror is a task for all Nigerians not just the armed forces. I urge all Nigerians to continue to pray for peace in Nigeria and to support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the government does its best to bring an end to these acts of terror and secure all Nigerians. May God bless Nigeria.
12. Some may think it is ironic that perhaps my proudest achievement was not winning the 2015 Presidential Election. By being the first elected Nigerian leader to willingly hand over power via the ballot box, to the opposition party, without contesting the election outcome, I proved to the ordinary man or woman in the country that I was his or her equal.
13. One thing that I know and I feel Nigerians will celebrate is continuity and peace.
14. My brothers and sisters, we are all winners. In this context there is no victor and no vanquished. We have demonstrated, even in our diversity, the progress of Nigeria remains paramount for all.
15. I’m not interested in 2015, because you and I do not know whether we will reach 2015. The truth is, 2015 is really not my business and it is politically irresponsible for people to be talking about 2015.
16. So any President, whether it is Goodluck Jonathan or any other person, as long as you still have the opportunity to contest or not to contest, if you declare it too early, you create more problems in the system. If you say you are contesting, it creates more problems. So don’t force a President to declare his interest. It is not right.
17. My political ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
18. Nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.
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19. No matter your political interest, you must place your country first. You must show some kind of patriotism.
20. Before the PDP administration, even directors in ministries had no phones! As Assistant Director, I had no phone. But with the PDP administration, now my mother has a phone.
21. Furthermore, under this administration, we have made consistent progress in improving the standard of elections in our country to ensure that they are ever more credible and truly representative of the people’s free choice.
22. If we do not spend billions educating our youths today, we will spend it fighting insecurity tomorrow. And you do not have to spend on education just because of insecurity. It is also the prudent thing to do.
23. Boko Haram is not as a result of misrule; definitely not. Sometimes people say it is as a result of poverty; definitely not. Boko Haram is a local terror group.
24. Boko Haram didn’t start in the last three years. Sometimes people talk about Boko Haram as if Jonathan is the cause of Boko Haram. I was the Vice President when Yusuf was killed, the so-called founder of Boko Haram. And he was there before 2009. But it was not handled properly at the beginning. They allowed it to grow into a cancer and become terrible like crude oil stealing. But I assure Nigerians that we will bring it under control. It is a major challenge, but we are working day and night to overcome it.
25. There can be no doubt that what we are witnessing in Nigeria today is a manifestation of the same warped and ferocious world view that brought down the Twin Towers in New York, killed innocent persons in Boston and led to the murder of defenceless people in the Southern Russian city of Volgograd.
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26. No matter what it takes, we will win this war against terror. The war against terror may be difficult, but the days of peace will come again. Terror is evil; nowhere in history has evil endured forever.
27. Terrorism is not a phenomenon a six months or one year state of emergency can solve.
28. We have a duty to stand firm against those who threaten the sovereign integrity of the Nigerian state.
29. All African nations need to come together to build unity and advance peace within the continent. Without peace, there cannot be development and without development we cannot fulfill the dreams of our Founding Fathers for political and economic independence. Economic independence is a target we must all aspire to, which in turn should lead us to the next level in the continuum of maturity, which is interdependence amongst Africans
30. Nigeria is the only country we have and we must all work to preserve it for present and future generations.
31. Nigerians are peace-loving people; these sad events perpetrated by those who do not wish our nation well have not changed the essential character of our people.
32. Yes, we have challenges but we will surely overcome. Nigeria is our country. Nigeria is blessed. We will all collectively protect, defend and develop this country for ourselves, and our children.
33. Over 70% of what are called corruption (cases), even by EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) and other anti-corruption agencies, is not corruption, but common stealing.
34. Don’t misquote me. I am not saying we don’t have issues of corruption but that is not our number one problem.
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35. Sometimes people take common stealing as corruption. A thief is a thief. When you steal money you are a thief.
36. Those quoting me as saying that ‘stealing is not corruption’ have not said that the President said stealing is good. Thieves should be treated as thieves. Do not use the word ‘corruption’ to cover so many things.
37. I have learnt not to look up to any man, except he is taller than I, or to look down on a fellow mortal, except I am admiring his shoes.
38. I have no enemies to fight. You are all my friends and we share a common destiny.
39. Where there is no opportunity for one man one vote, there will be no accountability and no responsibility.
40. Our votes must count! One man, one vote! One woman, one vote! One youth, one vote 30. Democracy is a journey that every nation mindful of advancing the liberty of its citizens must undertake.
41. We are all brothers and sisters born from the womb of one Nigeria and as I have said previously, we would not be Nigerians if God did not will it
42. Any society or country that closes the vital valves of its democratic space cannot develop at a reasonable pace.
43. Democracy calls for sacrifice and tolerance, an open ear and a strong voice.
44. We must develop a democratic culture in which the will of the people will be treated as sacred and be immune to subversion by anti-democratic elements.
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45. It is the supreme task of this generation to give hope to the hopeless strength to the weak and protection to the defenseless.
46. The beauty of democracy is that its practice is never final and always has room for improvement no matter how old a democratic society may be.
47. As we strive to advance our democratic development, there will be times when our will shall be tested, our patience provoked and our belief questioned.
48. I believe in the politics of give and take.
49. Election is like any tournament, FIFA says March, later say April or May. The winning team will still win. No big deal.
50. I don’t need to be a lion. I don’t need to operate like the pharaoh of Egypt, I don’t need to be an army general, but I can change this country without those traits.
51. I am not God, but I am more hopeful now than before in terms of combing the whole areas. We are working with our neighbours and we will comb the whole of that area. Just give us some time.
52. Africa must turn its begging bowls into baskets of prosperity and opportunity.
53. For you to fix the world, you must fix Africa. For you to fix Africa, you must fix Nigeria.
54. Crude oil stealing is not done by poor people. Because, you need a vessel to lift the oil across the ocean to go and sell. And if you are to sell a stolen product abroad, you also need some connections because the refineries abroad don’t take crude oil from just anybody.
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55. It is quite unfortunate that there is a lot of wrong information in the system, especially in the social media and normal media. I don’t have the time for social media.
56. Our founding fathers did not dream of a country where neighbors and friends would exchange bullets in place of handshakes.
57. I have come to launch a campaign of ideas, not one of calumny. I have to come to preach love, not hate. I have come to break you away from divisive tendencies of the past which have slowed our drive to true nationhood. I have no enemies to fight. You are all my friends and we share a common destiny.
58. Cynicism and skepticism will not help our journey to greatness. Let us believe in a new Nigeria.
59. The most important thing is the nation that belongs to all of us
and we must strive to protect and give our best to what belongs to all of us. God has a reason for everything. No matter the circumstances we are going through today, I believe that with the prayers, diligence and hard work of Nigerians, God will see this nation through all its tribulations.