Report by Sampson Ikemitang.
President Jonathan’s address of Monday, March 17, 2014, at the opening ceremony of the National Conference has continued to be assessed by delegates at the ongoing debate at Mohammed Bello Centre, National Judicial Institute, Abuja.
Delegates were unanimous in describing the speech as historic and unprecedented in the nation’s history.
Most delegates have viewed Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as one who has the understanding of the time, when he said, ’’The most compelling task before us, as we move ahead and contemplate what our nation will be at the end of its second Century, is to lay a much stronger foundation for faster development by building a more inclusive national consensus on the structure and guiding principles of State, that will guarantee our emergence as a more united, progressive and prosperous nation.’’
A delegate, Kyauta Giwa who is representing Civil Society Organizations, in his contribution, said, the President’s speech indeed revolves around national unity and sets the tone for the evolution of a new Nigeria. He urged his colleagues to be steadfast in their obligation to the President and the Nigerian people.
Similarly, Charles Ibiang, a delegate representing Nigeria Youths Organizations, said, the President’s speech was comparative to speeches delivered by such great leaders as Abraham Lincolm, John Kennedy and President Barack Obama of the United States of America!
Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, a delegate representing Cross River State, in her opinion, said, Nigerians called for National conference and the President responded. “This underscores the fact that we have a President who cares and understands exactly how the people feel.” She therefore, alluded to the President’s remarks that, ’’The challenges of 1956 are certainly not the challenges of 2014, and definitely not the challenges that the nation will face in years to come.
Ita-Giwaa said, when she was quoting from the President’s speech that: “It makes sense therefore, that as the challenges before us evolve, we must be constant and proactive in our search for fresh solutions. We cannot continue to proffer yesterday’s solutions for today’s problems’’ , observed that “Indeed, this is the President’s philosophical underpin for convoking the National Conference.”
Another delegate, Prof. Munzali Jibril representing Nigerian Academy of Letters, expressed the view that the President’s address was more that of a statesman than a politician. He opined that the Civil Service is the custodian of values and accountability.Jibril therefore, urged fellow delegates to come up with innovative ways of re-jigging the institution for effective service delivery. He said this with a view to instilling transparency and accountability for the overall good of the nation.
Senator Ahmed Mohammed Aruwa, a delegate representing Kaduna State, in his contribution, described the President’s speech as “eloquent, well-intentioned and interactive.” He stressed that the speech was written with a clear understanding of the failures of the systems in the country. He therefore, urged fellow delegates to articulate solutions that will reposition the education sector as no nation develops without it.
Prof. Mohammed Jumari, an elder statesman from Sokoto, urged the President to be courageous to implement the outcome of the report that will be submitted. He also suggested that a committee of judges should visit prisons and review the cases of inmates that have been unlawfully detained.
On his part, Barrister Ibrahim Junju, a delegate representing the Federal Government, thanked the President for his speech, saying the President ’’Placed responsibility on us and we must not fail the people.’’ He called for autonomy of the Local Governments, stressing that Nigeria’s problems were becoming worse, because according to him, Local governments were not working.
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