It was meant to be the official opening, and naming of a 6 kilometer road after him, but former President Goodluck Jonathan chose to wax philosophical on his experience after leaving power six years ago.
Said Jonathan while inaugurating the 6.25Km Sabon Kaura-Jos by-pass road built by the Bauchi state government: ”There are people who act like they can’t eat without you when you’re in a position of power. But once you’re no longer in that position, they move on and act like you no longer exist.
”It is a very big day for me and you know why? Because it’s not easy for somebody to work with you in Nigeria then after leaving office, that person still continues with that kind of strong fraternal relationship with you.
”I have been in government for a reasonable time and I’ve served at quite a number of levels starting from deputy governor.
“Most of my experience is that after leaving office, some people just forget that you even exist.
”However, Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi is a good brother and I’m quite pleased that he invited me to commission the first major project that he has completed, that’s a big honour….
“Today is a happy day for me because since I left office, this is the first time I am coming to Bauchi. I thank the people of Bauchi for supporting my good son and let me say that you’ve done very well in supporting him. It would have been difficult for him to win the election without your support.
“Yes, as he said, I didn’t know him when I made him the minister of FCT. In Nigeria, we have this tradition where some people feel that there are some ministries that are big and that you have to know somebody before you can get there, but that was not my own way of doing things. Bala Mohammed is a good younger brother and he is a good son. Even when he was a minister, he worked with the commitment that was why I gave him the free hand to run the ministry.
In responding, Mohammed said, “Today, history is made as revealed by the Master of Ceremony and (I want to say that) today I am the happiest person standing here. Your Highness, somebody who was instrumental to my coming to the limelight in Nigeria is sitting down with you. He came all the way from Yenegoa in Bayelsa. Somebody that I never had anything in common with other than the streak of nationalism and Nigerians.
“He made me the minister of FCT without knowing me or belonging to the same party. He really impacted so much in me and other youths in Nigeria by giving me that responsibility. He gave me the burden to carry his name on my head like a toga and that made it a must to perform anywhere I went. He didn’t give me that position by my own doing or because anybody was seeking it on my behalf.
“He has shone us what democracy means. When we lost, he became my father and my inspiration. And the way and manner he left government, he has created a good impression globally in terms of democracy. He made me proud that I have a father and a mentor who is the face of democracy in Africa. And today, he has come to our House; this House that we all respect in Bauchi and the whole country….
”We embraced good governance as a deliberate policy for the development of the state and in order to create the desired positive impact on the lives of the people of Bauchi state.
“Your excellency, you know very well, I did not know this culture, you taught me how to do this in your cabinet.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the road we are about to commission today is an example of a road in need and a road indeed and I’m glad that no one else but you, your excellency, would perform the first commissioning ceremony since I assumed office as a governor.
“Furthermore sir, I humbly seek your kind consent to recognise your indelible contribution to the progress and development of our dear nation, Bauchi state and indeed myself, to name this very road after your good name as Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan drive.”
The road was built by a local firm for N2.2 billion within a period of six months.