What Nigeria must do to progress —Jonathan

Posted by News Express | 6 June 2016 | 2,835 times

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Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday stressed the need for peace, freedom and unity for Nigeria to further develop and progress.

In his first public address since leaving office on May 29, 2014, one that chronicles the current state of Nigeria and what must be done to move the nation forward, Dr. Jonathan said peace, freedom and unity need to be deeply, strongly and irreversibly entrenched in Nigeria for all time.

In a speech delivered at Bloomberg Studio, London on Monday, the former Nigerian leader stressed that for the needed progress to come to Nigeria, it was imperative that both the Executive and the Legislative arms of Government institute a Bill of Rights.

“A Bill of Rights that will end discrimination and tribalism, and promote equality, enabling everyone to work towards the common goal for the development of the nation.

“A Bill of Rights which like the British Magna Carta, some 800 years ago, enshrined the principle of habeas corpus so that no person is deprived of his liberty without a trial of his peers.

“A Bill of Rights, like that introduced by America’s Founding Fathers, which stated “the people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable,” he stressed.

“Judged On Your Own Merits”

Dr. Jonathan further questioned: “Wouldn’t it be good for us to aspire to a Nigeria where we too could apply that same principle “Civis Nigerianus sum”?

“Each of us could say, “I am a citizen of Nigeria!

“We would be able to look beyond where each of us comes from, and look past our tribal origins.

“We would be able to evaluate each other on our merits, rather than our religion, or region.

“We would be free to think or do as we wished, as long as we observed the laws of the land, without fear that the land would withhold our rights under the law.

“What would it mean to be able to declare “I am a Nigerian citizen”?

“You would be judged on your own merits, not your tribe.

“You would have access to education that can help you succeed on whatever path you choose.

“You would be part of a proud culture, one that others want to invest in.

“You would be safe in knowing that society judges you by your successes and failures, rather than your place of origin.

“You would be equal before the law and your protection is enshrined in the laws of the country.

“You would be an asset and a valued member of your country; one who is worth investing in; who can return that investment tenfold within your lifetime,” he further said.

He further stated that since leaving office one year and one week ago, he had had the luxury of time to be able to reflect on the future of his great country, Nigeria.

“So today is not about my personal memories or a litany of ‘what ifs’. No! Today I would like to share with you what I believe is the key learning from my experiences for the future of democracy not only in Nigeria but also across the entire continent of Africa.

“I said before the last election that my political ambition was not worth the blood of one Nigerian.

“I was true to my word when on March 16th, 2015, just after the election, when the results were still being collated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I called my opponent, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) to concede, in order to avoid any conflict and ensure a peaceful transition of power.

“This was without precedent in my country and I am proud that it achieved my goal of no conflict arising from the result of the election.

“Some may think it is ironic that perhaps my proudest achievement was not winning the 2015 Presidential Election. By being the first elected Nigerian leader to willingly hand over power via the ballot box, to the opposition party, without contesting the election outcome, I proved to the ordinary man or woman in the country that I was his or her equal.

“That his or her vote was equal to mine, and that democracy is the ‘Government by the will of the people’, and Nigeria, and indeed Africa is ripe for democracy.

It is my sincerest wish that democracy continues to be consolidated in the continent of Africa and it will even get better.

“For it has always been my consistent desire to help consolidate peace and cultivate democracy in Nigeria and across the Continent.

“In fact, it was the key foreign policy objective of my Administration when we were able to help broker peace and restore democracy in Niger, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Cote d’Ivoire.”

•Excerpted from a Channels TV report. Photo shows Ex-President Jonathan.


Source: News Express

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