Four Months To Presidential Election, Nigerian Leader Goodluck Jonathan Heads To Israel For Prayers

Four Months To Presidential Election, Nigerian Leader Goodluck Jonathan Heads To Israel For Prayers

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Goodluck Jonathan will on Friday depart Lagos on a brief pilgrimage to
Israel, his office said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement
issued in Abuja by Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on
Media and Publicity, said Mr. Jonathan would visit Christian Holy sites
during the pilgrimage.
According to
the statement, he will join other Nigerian pilgrims in a prayer session
for the well-being and progress of the country at an
Inter-Denominational Service in Jerusalem on Sunday.

The president,
who will be accompanied by the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa,
Obioma Onwuzurumba, and his principal aides, is expected back in Abuja
on Monday.

Mr. Jonathan’s
office did not specifically identify the aides accompanying him on the
trip but the President is known for travelling with outsized delegations
on foreign trips.
Mr. Jonathan’s
trip to Israel, which is his second in 12 months, is coming about four
months to the 2015 presidential election in which he is most likely to
run as the candidate of the governing Peoples Democratic Party [PDP].
The Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] has fixed February
14, 2015 for the next presidential election.

During his last
visit, Mr. Jonathan met with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu as well as with members of the Israeli Parliament,
the Knesset.The president had on October 23, 2013, embarked on a similar
trip which he combined with an official visit to Israel.
The talks
between the President’s delegation and Israeli government focused on the
enhancement of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Israel.

Mr. Jonathan
later undertook a tour of some locations in Israel revered by Christians
because of their association with the earthly mission of Jesus Christ.

This time, his close aides told reporters, his mission to Israel is entirely spiritual.
“As you know,
the election is approaching and the president needs all the prayers and
spiritual blessings he can get,” one of his aides, who asked not to be
named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter. “He is going
to fervently pray for success in the coming election and for peace to
reign in this country.”

The aide said
the President has become especially spiritual of late and that it was
not a surprise that he was going to commit himself to God as he stands
for reelection.
During his last
pilgrimage, Mr. Jonathan visited Jerusalem where he led other Nigerian
pilgrims in a special prayer for the numerous challenges facing Nigeria.

Leading the
intercessory prayer session at the Chapel of Dominous Flevit (where
Jesus wept), the President particularly prayed for God’s intervention in
the current political and security challenges in Nigeria.
Other pilgrims
at the time, who led in different prayer points, included Governor Jonah
Gang of Plateau; Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina; Abuja
Christian leader, Israel Akanji; and a lawmaker, Ndudi Elumelu.

The president
also visited Mount Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Bascillica of Agony and
Mount Zion where he also prayed alongside other pilgrims at the Upper
Room (where Jesus had the last supper with His disciples).

Other places he
visited included David City, The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the
last place where Jesus was kept a night before he was crucified.
The president and other Nigerian pilgrims also walked down the Palm Sunday Road to the Chapel of Dominous Flevit.
He also visited the Jerusalem Old City, The Wailing Wall, Golgotha, Pool of Bethesda and other holy sites.

It is not clear whether he plans to revisit these holy sites this time.
governors, seven ministers and three members of the National Assembly
accompanied the President to Israel for that pilgrimage.

The governors
were Theodore Orji of Abia; Peter Obi of Anambra; Godswill Akpabio of
Akwa Ibom; Martin Elechi of Ebonyi; and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta;
Gabriel Suswam of Benue; Jonah Jang of Plateau, and Liyel Imoke of Cross

The ministers
included the supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri;
FCT Minister of State, Olajumoke Akinjide; the then Minister of
Information, Labsran Maku; and the then Minister of Aviation, Stella

Members of the
National Assembly in the presidential pilgrimage at the time were the
Senate Committee Chairman on Power, Philip Aduda, and Paul Paulka.

The president’s
office is yet to release the names of officials accompanying the
President on this year’s pilgrimage but media reports revealed no fewer
than 70 travel documents were processed for the trip.

Source: Premium Times

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