Former President Goodluck Jonathan was on Thursday honoured by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
He was awarded the Presidential Award in recognition of his “leadership in advancing human rights, social justice and the fight for universal freedom”.
The SCLC, founded by the late American civil right leader, Martin Luther King Jr, in January 1957, is currently led by Charles Steele Jr.
The event was part of activities leading up to the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 18.
Mr. Jonathan, the first African leader to be so honoured, also received Martin Luther King Jr’s sister, Naomi King during the event.
Before his remarks at the event, Mr. Jonathan met privately with the president of the SCLC.
The president of the SCLC, Charles Steele Jr., proposed to work with the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation to advance the cause of peace around the world and to bridge the gap between people of colour in the Diaspora.
Mr. Jonathan responded that his vision was to help stabilize and promote democracy and peace in Africa.
He said there won’t be economic progress without peace.
The former president said that was the reason he pushed for Nigeria’s intervention to ensure peace in various African nations such as Côte d’Ivoire while he was in office.
The former president expressed gratitude to the SCLC for inviting him, saying it was “virtually impossible to separate this worthy body from its founder, the late great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, or from epoch making landmark events of the American Civil Rights movement”.
“My personal takeaway from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, is service to God and the brotherhood and equality of all men before their Creator,” he said.
“In keeping with that, I have learnt not to look up to any man, except he is taller than I, or to look down on a fellow mortal, except I am admiring his shoes”.