As Nigeria marked 100 years, World leaders took turns to felitate with the country, urging her to take her prime place in the committee of Nations. Leaders who where present at the celebration included The President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh; Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore; Ali Bongo Odimba of Garbon; Idriss Deby of Chad; Yaya Boni of Benin Republic; Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Secretary-General of Organisation of African Unity (OAU); Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Others include Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Jose Manuel Baroso, President of the European Commission; Mrs. Joyce Banda of Malawi; Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania; Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali; Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia as well as Mohamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic.
The leaders spoke extensively on the warmth relationship between Nigeria and their respective countries. In a written message delivered to President Jonathan yesterday by Britain’s Minister for Africa, Mr. Mark Simmonds, Queen Elizabeth II conveyed her best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria.
“On the occasion of the Republic of Nigeria celebrating 100 years since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria, I send the people of Nigeria my warmest congratulations.
“I have fond memories of my first visit to Nigeria in 1956 and again in 2003 as Head of the Commonwealth.
“The links between our two countries have deepened over the past 100 years and I hope they will continue to do so.
“I would like to convey my best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria,” she wrote.
The Ethiopian premier, in his presentations, stressed the need for African leaders to address the root cause of some of the problems confronting the continent, more especially in addressing the needs of the youths. According to him, “ensuring security means we as leaders have to address the issues that cause the untold human suffering which our countries have been noted for, failure of which have been series of conflicts. The only way Africa can break the cycle of violence is through the promotion of good governance evolving policies that would guarantee sustainable development of the continent.”
The Liberian President, who spoke on her country’s experience, noted that the future of the continent would be guaranteed if strong continental leaders like Nigeria showed clear example. Johnson, who recalled the great role Nigeria played in restoring law and order to her country during its almost decade-long civil war, noted, however, that the country was yet to shed the toga of the conflict as has been seen from her unstable economy. Baroso, who commemded Nigerian leadership both at regional and international affairs, called for co-operation from other African countries with Nigeria in order to ensure secured continent free of crisis.
Simmonds, who read the speech of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said Nigeria, despite her initial challenges, had the prospect of leading other African countries, but noted that only Nigerians hold the key to its development. His words: “Nigeria has a great future of prosperity; the choice that Nigerians make in determining their future is entirely theirs, but the UK will continue to assist Nigeria in tackling extremism and terrorism.”
He used the opportunity to challenge African leaders present at the occasion to work towards producing leaders who will leave strong legacy behind after they might have gone, citing the example of the late South African President, Nelson Mandela who the world celebrated because of his selflessness and spirit of reconciliation.
Banda, in her intervention, called on Nigeria not to shirk in its responsibility of leading the continent to its destiny. She deplored the recent attack on a college in Yobe State, noting: “As a mother and grandmother, I see the killings in some parts of Nigeria as shocking and saddening. But I can assure you that Malawi will continue to lend its voice on matters that will help in restoring peace in Nigeria.
WE MUST COMMIT OURSELVES TO A NEW AFRICA– JONATHAN
Today, as our Nation marks its first 100 years, we look back with gratitude to God and with pride in our citizens. We look forward also, to the future, with hope and confidence. In this hall and beyond, I am delighted to welcome many of our past, current and future leaders, as well as our friends and partners, from near and far, persons and nations that have stood with us in times past, and whose friendship we will continue to cherish in the years to come.
It is my unique honour and privilege to welcome you all to this Conference, a shared moment, to celebrate the 100 years of the Nigerian nation; and for profound reflection on our challenges and opportunities as a continent.
Your Excellencies, only one year ago, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa celebrated 50 years of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union. On that occasion, African leaders reflected on our history on the state of our union and we recommitted ourselves to building a new Africa, which will usher in greater peace, security and prosperity for our peoples. But as I address you today, I have a heavy heart. Two days ago, terrorists invaded a secondary school and murdered innocent children in Yobe state, while they slept. The children, the hopes of their parents and future leaders of our dear nation, had their hopes and dreams snuffed out, leaving behind grieving families, schoolmates, communities and a sad nation. Our prayers and thoughts are with their families at this difficult moment of loss. This gruesome and mindless act of savagery is not Nigerian. It is not African. Let me assure all Nigerians that we will spare no resource in bringing those murderers to justice.
As a nation, whose fate and destiny are inextricably linked to that of the continent, Nigeria recognizes the opportunity of the moment, and particularly, that this is the place and time to reflect on this theme of our centenary conference, Human Security, Peace and Development: An Agenda for the 21st Century.
There is no doubt that Africa is rising. Today, seven of the fastest growing economics in the world are in Africa. Investment in the continent by Africans in the Diaspora bears testimony to the increased level of confidence in our continent. The rising middle class and greater penetration of Information and Communications Technologies, combined with a fast expanding financial services sector, are all pointers to a better future. To do so, we must seriously address the issues of human security, peace and development. Your Excellencies, as you well know, the issues of human security and peace are indispensable in the life of every nation. For far too long, in many parts of the world, especially in our continent, governments had placed much emphasis on the security of the state, and our very scarce resources were committed to military and regime security, at the expense of human security. We recognize human security as encompassing firm guarantee for human rights and good governance, that translate into expanded opportunities for economic security, food security, health and education security, environmental security, and personal and community security. A firm commitment to human security holds the promise of an end to persistent conflicts, insecurity, poverty, disease, terrorism and other scourges that undermine the attainment of our dreams.
We must emphasize that human security and peace are intertwined. Peace is not just the absence of violence or war. Peace encompasses every aspect of social tranquility and wellbeing. The peace we strive for is a state marked by the absence of severe human want and avoidable fear. In our lifetime, this peace is attainable, in our nations and our continent.
However, Your Excellences, we must strengthen existing mechanisms for national and international conflict management, and create new avenues for cooperation, within and between our peoples and our nations.
Your Excellencies and dear friends, I firmly share the view that if we stay focused and work together, we can make this 21st century, the African century. A century where all our children will have enough to eat; a century where all our children will be in school; a century where economic growth and prosperity touches all, regardless of gender, economic, political status, ethnic or religious affinity. For this to be achieved, our development must be people-centred, people-driven and anchored on human security.
Your Excellencies, the current state of human security, peace and development in our dear continent presents a picture of hope as well as challenges. For over a decade, Africa has consolidated on its democracy, and many countries have exited military dictatorship. There is now a heightened commitment to the tenets of good governance, and the rule of law. Nigeria has always sought security, peace and development. We are steadily developing a strong and vibrant democracy. There is enthusiastic participation across the Nation, with a purposeful government and active opposition parties. This was clearly expressed in the last national elections held in 2011, which received wide national and international acclaim, and was adjudged the freest and fairest ever in our nation’s history. But as our Nations grow, and as Africa grows, we must address some fundamental challenges to our human security, peace and development. Terrorism, which is a global menace, has extended its tentacles to Africa and Nigeria. In concert with our regional and global partners, we will continue to respond strategically and decisively to this scourge, and together with our people we shall end the killings and bring terrorism to an end.
Your Excellencies, let us work together across boundaries, not only to coordinate and strengthen our defenses, but also to address any socio-economic roots on which these extreme ideologies thrive.
Terrorism must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We all must work together, collectively, to rid our world of haters of peace, who use terror to maim, kill, instill fear and deny people their rights to peace and security. The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria is one of such condemnable acts of terror. We have continued to deploy human and military intelligence, in close collaboration with our partners, to bring an end to their nefarious activities.
Address by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR on the occasion of the Centenary Conference on the Theme: “Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for the 21st Century” on February 27, 2014.
Jan 18, 2016 0
May 10, 2015 0
Nov 11, 2017 0The world Black and Arts festival that was hosted in...
May 27, 2015 0Lagos State House of Assembly has invited Josephine Agwu...
Nov 17, 2017 0Tiwa savage is a natural singer with sense of passion to show case the dynamic qualities she possessed, which has earned her accolade and support from numerous fans across Africa and United Kingdom....