- …Says terrorism caused by corrupt values, ignorance
By Lawrence Olaoye & Ikechukwu Okaforadi
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday explained that the National Conference has become imperative in the wake of the nation’s second century for the country to remain united, strong and prosperous.
Jonathan, in his Centenary Broadcast beamed live yesterday also traced the root cause of insurgencies and terrorism in some parts of the north-eastern part of the country to corrupt values and ignorance among the populace.
The President who admonished Nigerians not to be afraid of discussing those challenges facing the nation but confront them in order to provide long lasting solutions, also called on participants at the
oncoming Confab not to convert same to arena for parochial bargaining between competing regions, ethnic, religious and other interest groups.
He rather challenged the participants to utilize the opportunity to dialogue on how to move the nation forward and ensure harmonious balance among the nation’s three tiers of government.
Stressing that the nation would remain united in the next hundred years, Jonathan said “Even as we remain resolute in our conviction that our union is
non-negotiable, we must never be afraid to embrace dialogue and strengthen the basis of this most cherished union.
“My call for the National Conference in this first year of our second century is to provide the platform to confront our challenges. I am confident that we shall rise from this conference with renewed courage and confidence to march through the next century and beyond, to overcome all obstacles on the path to the fulfillment of our globally acknowledged potential for greatness”, he said.
He added “The coming National Conference should not be about a few, privileged persons dictating the terms of debate but an opportunity for all Nigerians to take part in a comprehensive dialogue to further strengthen our union.
“I am hopeful that the conference will not result in parochial bargaining between competing regions, ethnic, religious and other interest groups but in an objective dialogue about the way forward for our nation and how to ensure a more harmonious balance among our three tiers of government.”
While expressing sadness at the recent attack of students in Yobe state, leading to the death of many and the maiming of others, Jonathan said his government would do everything humanly possible to eradicate the scourge of terrorism and insurgency in the country.
He said “ We will continue to do everything possible to permanently eradicate the scourge of terrorism and insurgency from our country. We recognise that the root cause of militancy, terrorism and insurgency is not the strength of extremist ideas but corrupted values and ignorance.”
According to him, “That is why our counter-terrorism strategy is not just about enforcing law and order as we have equipped our security forces to do. It also involves expanding economic opportunities, social inclusion, education and other measures that will help restore normalcy not just in the short term, but permanently.
“I want to reassure Nigerians that terrorism, strife and insecurity in any part of Nigeria are abhorrent and unacceptable to us. I urge leaders throughout Nigeria to ensure that ethnicity and religion are not allowed to become political issues,” he admonished.