President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said that he would not succumb to pressure to govern the country with high-handedness in addressing the various challenges confronting the country.
He made the remarks at the inter-denominational service to mark the 51st Independence Anniversary at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
The President said he listened to various opinions by many people, particularly in the media, that the nation needed to be governed with high-handedness.
He, however, said he did not take to such advice as he was not cut out for such type of leadership.
“If you listen to Nigerians, by reading the newspapers, and through their statements, some Nigerians will want the President of this country to be a lion or a tiger.
“Some others will want the President to operate like a military general, like the Chief of Army Staff. Incidentally, I am not a lion and I am not also a General.
“Some people will want the President to operate like, when you read the Bible history, the Kings of Syria, the Kings of Babylon and the Kings of Egypt, the Pharaohs.
“They want the President to operate that way. Unfortunately, I am not one of those,’’ Jonathan said.
The president said he needed not to be a “lion’’ or a maximum ruler like the biblical Nebuchadnezzar to change the country and pilot state affairs to greatness.
He assured that the ship of the Nigerian state was on course, and solicited the prayers of Nigerians for God’s direction.
“What I can assure you is that Nigeria is on course and with your prayers and the guidance of God, we will surely get to the destination we desire,’’ Jonathan said.
He noted that while there are some elements in the country working towards frustrating government and bringing it down, he was positive that with God on his side they would fail.
“Every Goliath has an exposed forehead. All the Goliaths that are trying to be the stumbling blocks to the development of this country, God will expose their heads to the stone of David,’’ the President prayed.
He congratulated every Nigerian on the occasion of the 51st anniversary and assured that with the help of God, he would lead the country to greatness.
Earlier in a sermon titled ‘Mighty Fortress Is Our God’, the former Head of ECWA Church, Prof. Yusuf Turaki, had said the country would overcome its challenges with God’s help.
He called on Nigerians to embrace the attributes of love, prayers, hope and faith in God in every of the challenges confronting the nation.
Our correspondent reports that the Senate President, Sen. David Mark, took the service’s first scripture reading from the Book of Psalms in the Bible.
Congregational prayers were also offered for the nation and its government.
The First Lady, Dame Patience, the President’s mother, Madam Ayi, and other members of the President’s family were at the service.
Other dignitaries at the service included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, Ministers, presidential aides, clergymen and leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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