ABUJA- Former President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed how late Kenneth Kaunda in 2006 prophesied his emergence as Nigeria president.
Jonathan gave the revelation in a speech he delivered at the 2nd Kenneth Kaunda Memorial Public Lecture on Saturday in Pretoria, South Africa.
It is titled ‘Kenneth Kaunda’s Lessons For Humanity’.
Kaunda, who was the first President of Zambia who served from 1964 to 1991, also known as KK, died on June 17, 2021.
Jonathan said this in the statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
He said though he was then Governor of Bayelsa State, he never had the dream of becoming Nigerian president as at that time.
He recalled that during his time as Bayelsa Governor in 2006, he invited Kaunda to the state because of their shared interest in the protection of their people against HIV/AIDS.
He recalled with relish the impressive pace displayed by Kaunda, then aged 82 years, at the symbolic Three Arms Walk for HIV/AIDS on the streets of Yenagoa.
“My political journey was not the one which attracted much attention from spiritual leaders and seers because many then could not see me playing notable roles in the national affairs of my country, since I was not active in partisan politics back then.
“However, I must say it now that Kaunda in the early days of my political career, captured my political trajectory to the presidency in an accurate prophetic revelation that has continued to amaze me till this day.
“In 2006 when Kaunda had ended his visit to us in Yenagoa and was returning to Zambia, I remember seeing him off to the Port Harcourt Airport in neighbouring Rivers State.
“As he stood up and was about to board a vehicle that would convey him to the aircraft, he turned back and said to me, “young man, you will be the president of this country one day.”
“Myself and my Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Amb. Boladei Igali, who was with me simply looked at each other in amazement, because the presidency was never in our dreams, at that time.
“Farfetched as these words seemed to me then, I later saw his prophecy fulfilled in my life within a decade.
“So I can say that KK was the man who saw tomorrow as it related then to my political future and fortune, as I eventually became the President of my country,” Jonathan said.
The former Nigeria president also said that his political experience, in certain ways, mirrored that of Kaunda.
He said that like Kaunda, he handed over to the opposition party after losing election.
“I am glad I made that happen without any contestation in the interest of peace and sustainable democracy.
“Let me end by saying that Dr Kaunda’s political profile as a leader and Pan-Africanist experienced varied fortunes, but in the end, he refused to be defeated and lived his life to show others that politics is about the people and that there is life after office.
“He was a man of the people right to the end of his ripe old age of 97 years when he passed on.
“This is what I am learning from him as I continue to devote my time to the pursuit of peace, good governance and sustainable democracy in Africa,” Jonathan said.
He said that Kaunda was not only of very great significance to Africa’s struggle for liberation, he was also quite significant to him.
He said that one of the reasons he accepted to assume the position of the Chancellor of Cavendish University, Uganda, two years ago was because Kaunda as well as Tanzanian former President, Benjamin Mkapa had served in the same position.
He said that Kaunda would continue to serve as a propelling force for Africa’s struggle for independence and economic emancipation.
“Kaunda’s voyage on Earth was an odyssey marked by many exciting milestones, the most significant being his role in nation-building and his passion for a just and peaceful society.
“He was a foremost Pan-Africanist, who worked tirelessly with his contemporaries like Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba and Ahmed Sekou Toure to birth freedom for many of our countries.
“They worked together to promote African unity and solidarity, and to advocate for self-determination and economic development.
“Kaunda’s timeline was defined by courage, strength, and resilience, championing hope and freedom and good governance in Zambia, Southern Africa, and the entire African continent.”
He added that Kaunda’s dedication to the causes of justice and African emancipation paid off, with the decolonisation and freedom of his neighbours and brothers in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
“Kaunda was such a vociferous anti-colonialist that from 1954 he refused to drink tea and coffee in protest against British colonialism – a personal protest he kept up for the rest of his life.”(NAN)