Ahead of Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections across the country, former President Goodluck Jonathan has warned politicians to eschew do-or-die politics, saying those aspiring to rule should not force themselves on the people.
Jonathan spoke on Thursday at Sampou community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State shortly after paying a condolence visit to Governor Douye Diri over the demise of his father, Pa Abraham Diri.
Bayelsa, Jonathan’s home state, will conduct only the state assembly election on Saturday while its governorship election is scheduled for November 11, 2023.
Governor Douye Diri’s chief press secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, in a statement on Thursday, said former President Jonathan also stressed that politics should be about service and not about self, urging politicians to wait for God’s time to get into leadership positions.
The former president noted that in a democracy, the people played a critical role and wondered why those who aspire to lead want to force themselves on the people.
Jonathan also advised people of the state to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner during the election.
He said, “Leadership is not by force. It is about serving the people. So, if you want to lead the people, you cannot kill them before you lead them.
“In Bayelsa, the challenges will be minimal because we do not have governorship election on Saturday. But I urge our people to conduct themselves well.”
Speaking on the late Pa Diri, Jonathan described the death of a parent as painful, urging the family of the departed to take solace in the worthy legacies he left behind.
The former president noted that the fact that Pa Diri produced a governor meant he inculcated good virtues in his children and prayed that God gives the Diri family the fortitude to bear the loss.
He said, “When you go for condolence visit, sometimes you lack words. We are lucky that our father lived for 88 years but that is not the most important. What you will be remembered for is what matters. From the messages so far, it is clear he lived a worthy life.
“He had good qualities that probably helped him produce a governor. We have come to join the governor and members of his family and community to console you and the rest of the family.”
In his response, the Bayelsa Governor, Senator Douye Diri, described the visit of the former president as special, saying his family and community were strengthened by his presence.
He traced his relationship with Jonathan to his (Jonathan) tenure as Bayelsa deputy governor.
Diri said he became very close to the ex-president until Jonathan became governor and appointed him (Diri) as a commissioner.