Nigeria’s Unity Is Non-Negotiable – Jonathan

Dr. Jonathan Those seeking the disintegration of the country are “lazy politicians seeking to be kings in tiny islands’’, President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday in Abuja.

Jonathan spoke while declaring open a National Summit and Rally for peace, unity and development, oganised by the NLC.

The president noted that the strength of the nation is in its size, population and diversity and his administration remained committed to its unity.

“I agree with other speakers that we cannot talk about cannibalising and balkanising Nigeria.

“I think those who are thinking that way want to be kings in tiny islands, because I believe from the little I know that Nigeria is still rated as a country to look at globally. It’s not because we produce oil and some people think it’s because of our oil.

“One small country with less than 10 million population produces more oil than Nigeria. So it is not the oil, it not the vast land. What is the land space of Nigeria compared to Sudan?

“The population, yes, we have the population, but I think the key thing is actually the size in terms of the human beings; it’s not the oil that we think we have.

“So any person who feels that they just want to stay as one nation, just want to be king without hard work. They will not get it, because Nigeria will not divide.’’

President Jonathan underscored the need for Nigerians to embrace peace as a pre-requisite for achieving the desired development.

He decried the present development where communication towers and equipment had become the target of destruction by some disgruntled elements.

Jonathan noted that such negative trends by saboteurs impacted negatively on the economy and made it difficult to move a modern society forward.

The president commended the NLC for organising the summit adding that it was in line with government’s position of seeking consensus in nation building and sustainable development.

He urged the organiser to use the summit to open discussion on home-grown strategies in confronting the challenges of security, peace and development.

The president also charged the gathering to examine the roles labour and the citizens could play in the attainment of sustainable security.

Jonathan requested the NLC to take serious interest in the nation’s constitutional development by making valuable contributions in writing to the National Assembly Committees on constitutional review.

He enjoined the NLC to also continue in its quest for a peaceful Nigeria and join hands with his administration to work for the overall development of the country.

He noted that the modest efforts of government were yielding results particularly in the areas of foreign direct investments, power, agriculture aviation and manufacturing.

Earlier, Edo governor, Adams Oshiomhole, identified disconnect between the political class and the masses, unemployment, corruption, anti-masses policies, among others, as causes of disunity and crises in the country.

Then former NLC president noted that there could not be peace, unity and development without justice.

He noted that economic growth and development could only be measured when it trickled down to the masses and the generality of the society.

Oshiomhole called for a review of the revenue allocation formula to allow for a reduction in the resources accruing to the Federal Government in favour of states and local governments.

He noted that by so doing, states would be allowed to develop at their own paces and attention would be shifted from the federal to the states.

Chairman of the occasion and former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, said the dimension of the current security challenges had made it imperative for all Nigerians to come together to proffer solutions.

He noted that without a unity of purpose and unity of all ethnic nationalities there would be no peace, security and meaningful development.

Gowon expressed his reservations about the general notion of minority and majority nationalities saying that Nigerians must see themselves as one.

He said the event was a departure from what labour was erroneously known for: militancy, civil disobedience and opposition to government’s policies. (NAN)

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