West and North Africa
Niegria: Goodluck Jonathan – Constant crisis hampering economic development
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said that the crises and challenges facing the country were impeding on major economic development. He further noted that there is no way one can talk of economic development in the absence of peace, adding that to develop economically, internal democracy and internal stability are crucial.
Jonathan stated this after receiving the 2013 Africa Peace Award from the United Religions Initiatives (URI), stressing that there could be no meaningful economic development where people are fighting. He insisted that our differences cannot be resolved through the barrels of the gun.
“Even when countries are fighting, at the end of the day, they will still come to the dialogue table to resolve their differences. They have hardly solved any crisis through the barrel of the gun. Even if you had the most sophisticated weapon to fight, they would still come to negotiate, otherwise, you can never live in peace. So, let me call on all Nigerians, especially the young people; if you come to the southern part of this country, you hear about militancy, kidnapping and if you go to the North, you have this issue of Boko Haram. For us to develop our country, we must all embrace peace. There is no way the government can perform magic when the people are shooting guns, because economic growth and development are in the hands of the private sector,” he said.
Jonathan said as a result of all these, the leadership of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are now interested in helping African nations to achieve peace, having accepted the belief that as Africans, we must help ourselves and help our states by governing them the way they should.
“There cannot be economic development without peace. For you to develop economically, there must be peace and political stability. So, the leadership of African Union and ECOWAS had changed and we believe that we must help ourselves and help our states and govern our states the way they should be governed. If there are crises, we should intervene and that has been helping us significantly,” he said.
Dedicating the award to all Nigerians, the president promised to continue to play the roles that will enhance peace and guarantee political stability in Nigeria adding that economic growth, development and stability are tied to political stability.
Jonathan said: “This award is dedicated to my people and my country Nigeria. We couldn’t have been qualified for this award if my people did not encourage me. God has given us that unique privilege to be fairly more robust than some of our African countries and we are one of the African countries that the whole work look up to to assist in one way or the other. So this award is for Nigeria and not for Goodluck Jonathan.
“We would continue to our best. For me as an individual I will continue to play my role in spite of the challenges. Let me use this unique opportunity to call on all Nigerians and all the people of the world to embrace peace. You cannot talk about development when you are fighting.”