Tongues were sent wagging on Sunday following the absence of former President Goodluck Jonathan as former Nigerian leaders who are Christians gathered at the Aso Villa Chapel located inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja for the end of the year thanksgiving.
The past leaders were invited by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to join him and his wife to praise God for His goodness over the country.
Former Nigerian leaders who attended the service included a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.); former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan; former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Oladipo Diya (retd.); former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme; and Rear Admiral Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.).
Osinbajo told newsmen shortly after the event that Jonathan was among those invited for the service. He, however, said Jonathan decided to cancel his attendance at the last minute.
Osinbajo said, “Today is a special thanksgiving for the end of the year and as you have seen, all the former Presidents and Vice-Presidents are here for the special thanksgiving service,
“They have been specially invited to come, we also expected President Jonathan but unfortunately, he had to cancel at the last moment.
“So, we are all extremely excited that we have been able to bring everyone together to thank God for our nation and to give Him thanks for the great future ahead of us.”
Earlier during the service, Gowon who said he was attending service at the chapel for the first time, confirmed that Osinbajo personally contacted him to attend the service.
The former military leader urged Christians to love every Nigerian in spite of their faith.
“Our neighbours are Christians, Muslims, traditional religions etcetera. Whatever we do, we make sure that we live up to the expectation of what Christ expects from us,’’ he said.